Michelle Wie West announced she is teaming with golf equipment company LA Golf to lead an initiative to provide LPGA players with the same benefits as their male counterparts.
In a news release Tuesday, LA Golf said it will provide its LPGA partners with “full healthcare including mental health days and paid maternity leave, as well as performance-based bonuses.”
The company also said it will handle travel logistics for some tournament weeks to allow players to focus on their game and not the details of travel.
“We’re looking into not so much as just throwing money, but what meaningful support can we provide women athletes that will make them feel like they’re taken care of,” Wie West, an investor in LA Golf and a board member, told ESPN. “And all of this — it adds up, and hopefully this will help to elongate their career. They can play with less injuries. They can play with less stress and have mental health support, all of that.”
Wie West, 32, announced last week that she was winding down her pro golf career, committing to play in two more U.S. Women’s Open tournaments but having no other events on her schedule.
Wie West told ESPN she has been working with LA Golf CEO Reed Dickens to create the initiative, sharing with him her experiences as a golf pro. She shared a story about traveling as an LPGA player compared to how other pro athletes travel.
“My eyes were really opened when I traveled with my husband with the Warriors and saw how they travel,” said Wie West, who is married to Golden State Warriors executive Jonnie West. “Everything is done for them, and it’s the same on the PGA Tour, as well.
“Meanwhile, I remember hoping and praying that my golf bags would show up on the carousel at the airport. And I was fortunate to travel with a team during my playing years, but I know there are plenty of girls who don’t even have that luxury.”
LA Golf didn’t announce a start date or the cost of the initiative.
Wie West has five LPGA career victories, including the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open.
–Field Level Media