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Will Michelle Wie Turn Pro in October?

Posted July. 27, 2005 03:03,   


Announcing her turning pro on her birthday, receiving huge corporate sponsorship deals, and making her pro debut.

This is a hypothetical scenario for the future of Michelle Wie (15), the golf prodigy. Right now, this is of course just speculation regarding this noted young long hitter, but the possibility seems to be constantly growing.

Many golf media outlets in the U.S. released a report on July 26 that Michelle Wie is highly likely to announce her pursuit of an early pro career on her 16th birthday, October 11. The reports also added that she would play as a pro for the first time in the Samsung World Championship scheduled for October 13 in Big Horn CC (Canyons Course), Palm Desert, California.

Michelle Wie’s pursuit of an early pro career sounds persuasive indeed.

She already made the cut in six tournaments on the LPGA tour, recording three wins in the semifinals. If she were a pro, she could have collected $550,000 (or 550 million won).

Because she did a great job to maximize her product value this year, this could be a golden opportunity for her to earn an enormous fortune by turning pro. The sponsorship would provide her with her tour expense, which costs her $100,000 a year, and she would even receive appearance money.

The most probable corporate is Nike. Conditions are expected to be similar to that Tiger Woods had after his turning pro, which is around 40 million dollar (or 40 billion won) for five years. Nike in 2003 contracted LeBron James, the high school basketball phenom, for $90 million for seven years. As this precedent shows, Nike is famous for not hesitating to invest in promising youth athletes.

Meanwhile, another company is reported to be presenting an exceptional condition, which is to provide her with a private chartered plane so she can go to Stanford University, which has been her long-term dream, while playing as a pro. With this plane, she can have 300 hours of free flights for a year. Where Michelle Wie’s future lies is drawing enormous attention indeed.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com