Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Amazing. She's turning pro before her 16th birthday. I'm sure it was a difficult decision by her parents. I would have a tough time, and probably lean towards making her wait to let her mature some more.

Michelle Wie will turn pro sometime between now and Oct. 11 -- her 16th birthday -- perhaps as early as next week. In doing so, she will become the world's highest-paid female golfer.

According to sources involved in the negotiations who requested anonymity, Wie will sign endorsement deals with three companies (one believed to be Nike) worth an estimated $8 million. Adding in tournament appearance fees and other endorsements, the Hawaiian teen's compensation for her first year as a pro is expected to reach $10 million -- not counting what she wins on the course. She also will enlist the services of the William Morris Agency to secure further commercial endorsements and guide her pro career, shunning traditional golf-management companies and suggesting her long-term aspirations may involve transcending the game as much as dominating it.

The sources say Wie's first professional tournament will be the LPGA's Samsung World Championship, which begins two days after her birthday at Bighorn GC in Palm Desert, Calif., an important factor in the timing of her decision to turn pro. A source says she wants to declare as soon as possible, in order to minimize any distractions in her pro debut. "[The announcement] will happen before the end of the month," says one source familiar with the Wies' thinking. "To do it at the tournament would be a bit unsettling."
(full article)

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