Michelle Wie West went nearly two years without playing in an LPGA Tour event before returning to action at the Kia Classic in March. She missed the cut then, as well as the two she's played in since then.
However, the 31-year-old is now set to play in the tournament in which she earned the biggest victory of her career: the U.S. Women's Open, which she won in 2014. And this time, the event is being held at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, where she resides.
There are a lot of talented golfers in this year's field, though, and Wie West will need to find her best form swiftly. The tournament is set to get underway Thursday and will conclude Sunday.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into this year's U.S. Women's Open.
Dates: Thursday, June 3-Sunday, June 6
TV: Round 1 (7-11 p.m. ET, Golf Channel); Round 2 (7-11 p.m. ET, Golf Channel); Round 3 (2 p.m.-5 p.m. ET, NBC; 5-10 p.m. ET, Golf Channel); Round 4 (3-7 p.m. ET, NBC)
Tee Times: A full list of tee times can be found at USGA.org
Prize Money: A $5.5 million purse, with $1 million going to the winner
The 2021 U.S. Women's Open will feature the current No. 1 player in the world (Jin Young Ko), the defending champion (A Lim Kim) and a potential comeback story in the making (Wie West).
However, the deep field at this year's event means it's possible none of them will win, although they could be among the top contenders.
Ko owns two career wins at major tournaments, but both came in 2019 (the ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship). She finished tied for second at last year's U.S. Women's Open, and she ended up tied for seventh at this year's first major, the ANA Inspiration in April.
The 25-year-old has finished seventh or better in four of the six tournaments she's played in this year, and she's likely to have a strong performance this week. But she concedes she's a bit nervous to play the Lake Course at the Olympic Club, which has never previously hosted the U.S. Women's Open.
"Majors are always tough for everybody, and this course is more hilly," Ko said, per Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle. "The wind is going to be tougher than other courses, but it’s going to be fun. ... The fairways are narrow, so the first important thing is to keep the ball in the fairway."
Kim had never previously played in a major tournament when she won the 2020 U.S. Women's Open, which was held at Champions Golf Club in Houston. She finished at three under par, one stroke ahead of Ko and Amy Olson.
Earlier this year, Kim missed the cut at the ANA Inspiration. But if she fares better this week, she could become the first golfer to win the U.S. Women's Open in consecutive years since Karrie Webb in 2000 and 2001.
While Ko or Kim wouldn't be surprising winners, it would be less expected for Wie West to notch the victory. She hasn't played in the U.S. Women's Open since tying for 10th in 2018. She's missed the cut in each of her past three major appearances, including this year's ANA Inspiration.
Wie West has even acknowledged her playing days may be getting close to the end.
"I'm playing definitely on borrowed time, and I'm grateful for every second of it," she said, per Kent Paisley of Golf Digest.
But it would be a remarkable tale if Wie West finally won her second major tournament at this point in her career and so close to her home. Perhaps being familiar with Olympic Club could even play in her favor.
Another name to watch this week is Patty Tavatanakit.
The 21-year-old won the ANA Inspiration in April for the first major victory of her career, and she tied for third at the Honda LPGA Thailand last month. So, she has momentum heading into her fifth career appearance at the U.S. Women's Open, in which she tied for fifth in 2018.