Last Sunday night, after finishing 8-over par in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, Michelle Wie was hanging out at the Jet Lag Lizard, a small local haunt in Incheon, South Korea, that caters to flight crews and caddies. Wie wore a lightweight hoodie and sat at a high-top table with fellow LPGA players Marina Alex, Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff but she seemed distracted. At the time, it looked as though her disappointing two-week stretch in South Korea, at the UL International Crown and then the Hana Bank, had worn her out.
Late Thursday, Wie announced that it was much more. On her Instagram page Wie posted a picture of herself in a hospital bed and announced that she had undergone surgery to remedy a hand injury that has plagued her throughout this season.
“A lot of people have been asking me what’s going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself,” Wie wrote. “After countless MRIs, X-rays, CT scans and doctor consultants, I was diagnosed with having a small avulsion fracture, bone spurring and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After three cortisone injections and some rest following the (Ricoh Women’s) British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the States and get surgery to fix these issues.
“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free.
“Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS (that’s Dr. Andrew Weiland, orthopedic specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York) for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon, guys. Promise.”
Many who saw Wie up close in South Korea predicted this outcome. The swing she created for the UL International Crown and Hana Bank to compensate for her injury was unsustainable in the short term. Not only did she appear to be in pain, the low, flat hooks she hit were startling for a player of Wie’s caliber. The 70-73 weekend she put together at Hana Bank appeared to be cobbled together on pure guts. The 76-77 she posted on Thursday and Friday was more in line with the move she was making.
Wie’s hand ailment is the latest in a series of injuries that has led to swing changes and time away from the game. Her fans hope this might be the last of setbacks.