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Crude Joke by Giuliani Keeps Wie West Motivated

It's part of why she decided not to retire
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2021 12:52 PM CDT

(Newser) – Michelle Wie West is no longer the golf phenom who turned pro before the age of 16. She's 31 and a new mom, and after a series of injuries, Wie West was contemplating retirement, writes Karen Crouse in the New York Times. But you'll find her golfing this week at the US Women's Open, and a crude joke told by Rudy Giuliani is part of the reason why. In February, Giuliani went on Steve Bannon's podcast to tell what he said was a funny story about the recently deceased Rush Limbaugh. It seems Limbaugh and Giuliani were participating in a 2014 pro-am, and Limbaugh was ticked off that photographers were following them. But Giuliani said the photographers were actually following around Wie West because they were "going crazy" and "trying to take pictures of her panties." You can watch the clip here. (Bannon is clearly not amused.)

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Wie West fired back when the story surfaced, castigating Giuliani for objectifying her, notes Golfweek. "What this person should have remembered from that day was the fact that I shot 64 and beat every male golfer in the field leading our team to victory," she wrote on Twitter. And the controversy "crystalized" for her why she intends to continue golfing, writes Crouse. "After 25 years of speaking into a microphone as a matter of duty, Wie West realized that she actually had a lot to say, and a return to competition would give her the platform to address inequities and ignorance that she hadn't been aware of as a teenage phenom." Among other things, Wie West praised tennis player Naomi Osaka for withdrawing from the French Open over the stipulation she participate in press conferences. "I'm really proud of athletes taking charge of their mental health and making it a priority," she says. "More conversations need to be had about that.” (Read more Michelle Wie stories.)

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