Michelle Wie West to be assistant captain for Solheim Cup

Michelle Wie West, a five-time Solheim Cup veteran and 2014 U.S. Women's Open champion, will return to Team USA as assistant captain.

Captain Pat Hurst selected Wie West, 30, to work alongside previously announced assistant captain Angela Stanford when Team USA competes against Team Europe at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, scheduled for Sept. 4-6, 2021.

"As soon as I heard the news [that Hurst was selected captain in January], I immediately texted Pat, being like, 'If you haven't picked your assistant captains yet, I just would love to be even considered,'" Wie West said during a Zoom call Wednesday. "I just feel extremely honored, when I actually got that phone call when she picked me as assistant captain. I was just ecstatic."

Wie West, who won five LPGA Tour events in addition to her major, represented Team USA at Solheim Cups in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017. In both of Team USA's victories in 2015 and 2017, Hurst was Wie West's pod leader -- Team USA uses a pod system designed to group four players together as a mini-team within the team of 12 -- under team captain Juli Inkster.

"Michelle called me early on and said, you know, if you haven't picked your assistants, can you please consider me," Hurst said Wednesday. "... I know what she's like. I know she's very patriotic -- loves the red, white and blue just like I do -- and her intensity in there. All the players love her. They respect her, and that's what I need."

Wie West said she will rely heavily on the lessons learned from Hurst's leadership and friendship, as well as her own experience teeing it up for Team USA.

"I just really want to help rookies and players to feel comfortable," said Wie West, who gave birth to her daughter Makenna on June 19. "I want to be that role that Pat was to me of making players feel comfortable. I think comfortable players and relaxed players make good golf and make for a fun time, and that's what we're here for -- good culture and the fire to win."

Wie West, suffering from a lingering wrist injury following surgery in 2018, didn't play in the Solheim Cup last year for the first time since 2009, when she went 3-0-1 after becoming just the second LPGA Tour rookie in history to play on Team USA. She has not competed on the LPGA Tour since missing the cut at the 2019 KPMG Women's PGA.

When she knew her 2019 season had come to an end, Wie West reached out to Inkster about a possible role as an assistant captain at Gleneagles, but Inkster had already filled those roles. Instead of competing at Gleneagles, Wie West joined Golf Channel's studio crew as an analyst during the Solheim Cup.

As for the possibility of Wie West returning to golf and potentially being a playing assistant captain, she said she is taking it day by day and not ruling anything out. Ultimately, she said that decision would be up to Hurst.

The LPGA resumes its 2020 season next week at Inverness Club.