Wie nets sponsors, may soon play proGolf prodigy Michelle Wie is likely to turn professional before the Samsung World Championship. An official announcement is expected from Honolulu at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, according to news reports.
Wie, who will turn 16 years old on Oct. 11, is unlikely to ask for a wavier for the LPGA Tour’s age requirement of 18 because she has been invited to many tours in the United States, Europe, Korea and Japan, including six sponsor’s exemptions on the Tour.
The first tournament she would play as pro is the LPGA Samsung World Championship at the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, California, which begins on Oct. 13.
Not that she needs the money. Wie has reportedly signed sponsorship agreements with Nike for $5 million annually and Sony for a similar amount. The sponsorship deals were delayed as Nike and Wie’s agency initially had disagreements on using the Sony logo, which they eventually ironed out.
Wie has raked in $10 million from sponsorship so far, but other reports said she could make $20 million to $40 million every year from sponsorship and prize money, ahead of tennis star Maria Sharapova, who earns about $16.7 million from sponsorship deals.
Reportedly, Wie is fluent in Korean and has a good command of Japanese and Chinese as well, and this is what makes her a commercial success.
If she were a pro, Wie would have made $640,000 from seven tournaments she played this year.
by Sung Ho-jun, Limb Jae-un
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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