Wie Slated for Big Announcement Wednesday

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2005, 4:00 pm
Michelle Wie will stick to her routine by going to school Wednesday, with one notable exception.
 
She will be the only junior at Punahou School who already is a millionaire.
 
Six days before she turns 16, still not old enough to drive car by herself, the 6-foot prodigy will turn professional with two endorsement deals that will make her the richest female golfer.
 
Two sources involved with her decision, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wie will make the announcement Wednesday in Honolulu (Watch it Live on TGC at 2PM/ET) at the Kahala Mandarin Hotel near Waialae Country Club, where she twice played in the Sony Open and shot 68 as a 14-year-old.
 
The time was set early so she could still go to school. That weekend, she will fly to the California desert and make her professional debut in the Samsung World Championship at Bighorn.
 
But the money will start pouring in no matter how she fares in the 18-player field.
 
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie is expected to become the richest female player ever.
The sources said Wie will sign two major endorsements, with Nike and Sony.
 
One source said the Nike contract would pay her about $4 million to $5 million a year. Nike prefers its athletes to have a clean look with no other logos, meaning Wie would have the swoosh on her cap and clothing. Tiger Woods has a dozen sponsors, but only the Nike logo is displayed on his clothing.
 
Wie has been using Nike equipment the last few years, and wearing its apparel.
 
The other major endorsement is with Sony, which is believed to be worth close to the Nike deal.
 
Sony officials got to know Wie during her two appearances at the Sony Open. She shot 68 in the second round last year -- the lowest score ever by a female competing on a men's tour -- and missed the cut by one shot. She returned this year and shot 75-74 in blustery conditions to miss the cut by seven shots.
 
One executive from Sony walked all 18 holes of her second round in 2004.
 
Along with appearance money to play overseas, Wie could bring in about $10 million a year beyond whatever she makes on the golf course. Annika Sorenstam, whose 66 victories on the LPGA Tour include nine majors and the career Grand Slam, earns about $6 million a year in endorsements.
 
Along with playing in the Samsung World Championship on Oct. 13 -- two days after she turns 16 -- Wie will play the Casio World Open in Japan the week of Thanksgiving, her first tournament overseas against the men.
 
``The courses in Japan are not as tough as here, they're not as long as they are in the United States,'' Shigeki Maruyama said Friday from the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro. ``She should have a very good chance of making the cut over there.''
 
Wie figures to have even greater recognition overseas, especially in Asia, than in the United States. She was born in Honolulu and has a Korean heritage, and speaks to her parents primarily in Korean.
 
``The LPGA is very popular in Japan,'' Maruyama said. ``She will be a big star.''
 
Wie is unlikely to play any other tournaments this year.
 
Nike most likely will build an ad campaign around her decision to turn pro, although not to the extent of its ``Hello, World'' ad when Tiger Woods turned pro in 1996 at age 20 after winning six straight USGA titles.
 
Wie is more about potential, a prodigy who already was hitting the ball like a PGA Tour player when she was still wearing a retainer. She first caught players' attention while playing in a junior pro-am at the Sony Open when she was 12. Tom Lehman thought her swing was so fluid he called her the ``Big Wiesy,'' because she reminded him of Ernie Els.
 
Wednesday's announcement will end an amateur chapter in her career in which she spent more time playing against the pros. Wie already has played 24 times on the LPGA Tour, and has not missed a cut in the last two years.
 
She was runner-up at the LPGA Championship to Annika Sorenstam in June, and tied for third at the Women's British Open in July. Both are majors on the LPGA Tour.
 
Wie also has competed five times against the men, without making a cut -- three on the PGA Tour, once on the Nationwide Tour and once on the Canadian Tour.
 
Her father said his daughter's routine would not change despite her status as a professional and the amount of money she will earn. B.J. Wie said he would stay at the University of Hawaii, where he is a professor, and Michelle would spend her final two years at Punahou School before going to college.
 
Wie will not challenge the LPGA Tour's policy that members be 18 years old. Instead, she will take sponsor's exemptions -- a maximum of six on the LPGA Tour, excluding the U.S. Women's Open or the Women's British Open. She can take up to seven on the PGA Tour, although it is not likely she will accept that many.
 
The announcement comes a week before her final LPGA Tour start to deflect some of the media attention. Some have scrutinized Wie the last two years for not playing more against girls her own age to pile up trophies.
 
Her most noteworthy victory was the 2003 U.S. Woman's Amateur Public Links, which she captured at age 13 to become the youngest champion of a USGA championship for adults. She lost in the finals of the WAPL a year later, but never reached the finals of the U.S. Junior Girls or U.S. Women's Amateur.
 
Her path has been different from the start.
 
She was winning state amateur events before she got out of elementary school, and qualified for her first LPGA Tour event -- the Takefugi Classic in 2002 -- before she was eligible for some junior tours like the American Junior Golf Association.
 
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm