More Changes Wie Gets New Agent
Ross Berlin, whom the William Morris Agency hired specifically to handle Wie, has taken a management position with the PGA TOUR.
He will be replaced by Greg Nared, a Nike manager who spent nearly three years recruiting Wie to the swoosh. Nike signed her to a five-year deal when she turned pro last year at age 16, and Wie signed other multiyear deals with Sony and Omega. Her earnings -- on the course, endorsements and appearance fees -- her first year were expected to approach $20 million.
Berlin spent his summer traveling the globe with the high school senior from Hawaii, and had been seen at PGA TOUR headquarters in recent weeks. Speculation he was on the verge of leaving increased when he was not at the Samsung World Championship last week in California, the first tournament Wie played that he missed.
'This is a great opportunity for me,' Berlin said, although he said he could not elaborate on his new role at the tour. The PGA TOUR said in a statement only that he would be part of the executive team, with specific duties announced later.
Berlin left Wednesday for a previously planned vacation in Colorado.
'He deserves a long vacation,' B.J. Wie, the teenager's father, said from his office at the University of Hawaii. 'He worked so hard.'
Wie finished 17th in the 20-player field, putting a dour end to her first year as a pro. While she had at least a share of the lead on the back nine of the first three majors on the LPGA Tour this year, she failed to win and stumbled badly during the final three months.
She withdrew from the John Deere Classic with heat exhaustion. After a tie for 26th in the Women's British Open, she fired caddie Greg Johnston, a situation that became awkward when the Wie family asked Berlin to tell the caddie he no longer was needed.
Wie played twice more against the men, finishing last in the European Masters in Switzerland and the 84 Lumber Classic in Pennsylvania.
Ken Sunshine Consultants, a New York public relations firm that works with the Wie family, announced the hiring of Nared and said it was sorry to see Berlin leave.
'Ross was a trusted and valuable member of our team,' the statement said.
Berlin, who formerly worked with soccer's governing body in Switzerland and managed the Ryder Cup at Valderrama, was in charge of marketing for the World Golf Championships and most recently was vice president of sponsor relations on the PGA TOUR when he left last summer to join William Morris and work with Wie.
Nared, who played college basketball at Maryland, had been with Nike for 14 years, most recently as the special projects manager for the company's U.S. Sports Marketing Division. He had spent eight years as Nike's business affairs manager, working with Tiger Woods when the world's No. 1 player signed with Nike upon turning pro in 1996.
'I've been at Nike 15 years and this company has been very good to me. It's difficult to leave,' Nared said. 'The Wie family, I've known for three years, and I feel very comfortable with them. What I've done over the last 15 years is help develop and mold athletes. This is a situation that will be no different.'
Nared was a constant presence on tour with Wie during the last three years, and is well-liked by the family.
'Michelle is so happy,' B.J. Wie said. 'We spent three years together at Nike, meeting many times.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18