In the coming days and weeks, athletes from across the professional sports landscape will be wearing an LPGA-logoed cotton-candy hoodie designed by Michelle Wie West. The #HoodieforGolf – already worn by Golden State Warriors players Damion Lee and Kent Bazemore – has sold out twice so far, and Wie West said that many of her famous friends are still waiting to get theirs in the mail.
The initial buzz and visibility is exactly what Wie West had in mind when she first brought the hoodie idea to Roberta Bowman, the LPGA’s chief brand and communications officer.
“We’re often hidden,” said Wie West. “We’re often left out; we’re often not covered. It’s been so fun to see our logo, our tour be on the forefront of many media outlets, on many people’s Instagram pages.”
Wie West, who is in the field for this week’s Hugel-Air Premia LA Open at Wilshire, remains the most well-known player on the LPGA even though she hasn’t won a tournament since 2018. The new mom returned to the tour in March with a different set of priorities and a big-picture perspective of her responsibility to the tour.
In the past, she never considered running for a spot on the LPGA’s board of directors because she was “1,000 percent hyper-focused on winning only.”
Time away from the game, however, helped her to see things differently. She credited LPGA Hall of Fame players Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel for continually emphasizing to younger generations the importance of leaving the tour in a better place – the LPGA Founder way.
“The work doesn’t stop here,” said Wie West.
The hoodie isn’t just about sparking conversations surrounding the 70-year-old tour. It’s also designed to help make the sport more diverse. Proceeds from the limited-edition hoodie benefit the LPGA Renee Powell Fund and the Clearview Legacy Foundation. Powell, 74, became the second Black player to compete on the LPGA in 1967. Her father, Bill, built Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, in 1946. It remains the only golf course in the country built, owned and operated by an African-American.
“Renee has spent her entire life trying to increase the participation of girls of color,” said Wie West, “which is something that is super important to me as well.”
Inspired by the WNBA’s #OrangeHoodie movement, which last year ESPN reported garnered 16.4K mentions on Twitter with over 623 million potential impressions thanks to the likes of LeBron James, Trae Young, Ja Morant, Victor Oladipo and Lil Wayne sporting the sweatshirt, Wie West said she has had impactful conversations with fellow Stanford grad Nneka Ogwumike, a former No. 1 draft pick who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks and serves as president of the WNBA Players Association.
“(Nneka) spearheaded a lot of initiatives for the WNBA,” said Wie West, “so really I look up to her. … I think we’re coming up with some cool ideas together.”
Wie West makes her third start of the 2021 season at Wilshire after two missed cuts. She’s been in Los Angeles for some time now visiting her in-laws. (Husband Jonnie West is the son of NBA legend Jerry West.)
Skipping last week’s tour event in her native Hawaii was a tough decision, Wie West said. She didn’t feel comfortable taking McKenna on the five-hour plane ride and couldn’t bring herself to go on to the Lotte Championship without her.
The first two events back were a struggle mentally, she said, feeling like she was 50 percent there for every aspect of life.
“It sucked feeling that way,” she said. “I felt like being on the golf course all I wanted to do was be with her, so I was 50 percent there, and when I was back home I was so tired from my round that I felt like I was about 50 percent with her. It was a rough two weeks when I was out there.
“But I had some time at home and just really changing the way I look at things, and it’s definitely been an adjustment, and I’m still adjusting, but it feels great to be out here. I’m getting more and more comfortable being out here away from her.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/20/michelle-wie-west-lpga-hoodie-for-golf/