A tearful Michelle Wie admitted she doesn’t know how much longer she will be able to continue playing golf at the highest level.
The former US Women’s Open champion, once tipped to have as big an impact on the ladies’ game as Tiger Woods had on the men’s, opened with a 12-over 84 in the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
It was her first start in almost two months and only her fifth since undergoing wrist surgery last autumn.
Wie, 29, had six bogeys, two doubles and a quad – offset by two birdies – in the first round of the third women’s major of the season at Hazeltine and, afterwards, she struggled to keep her emotions in check.
“It was a little foolish to think that I would shoot really well, just hitting golf balls last week,” said the American. “It’s a tough course but I’m really, really happy that I played. Just feeling a lot of joy, just being out there and competing again. It’s going to take time and I’ve just got to be patient.”
“It’s hard, It’s just one of those situations where I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me, so, even on the bad days, I’m just trying to take time to enjoy it. But it’s tough.”
A child prodigy, Wie turned professional in 2006, a week before her 16th birthday, signing endorsement deals with Nike and Sony that were reported to be worth more than $10m per year.
She won the first of her five LPGA titles in 2009 and, to date, her only major at the 2014 US Women’s Open. Her most recent win came at the 2018 HSBC Women's World Championship.
She has made 264 career starts on the LPGA, winning almost $6.8m.
New Zealand's Hannah Green leads the way after the opening round on four-under, one shot ahead of England's Mel Reid and Kim Hyo-joo of South Korea.