Looking into Wies Near Future
When Michelle Wie turns 16 in October, will she turn pro on the same day she becomes eligible to drive a car?
The pieces, bit by bit, are starting to come into focus more clearly. There is nothing official yet from the Wie camp or the myriad of manufacturers and management companies who covet her signature.
But more and more its looking like the Samsung World Championship Oct. 13-16 will be her official Hello World coming out party. A Hawaii newspaper openly speculated as much the day after Wie missed the cut at the recent John Deere Classic. And B.J. Wie, Michelles father, didnt knock down the story at that time.
LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw told me last week that it wouldnt shock him if Wie turned professional and did NOT petition for membership to the LPGA.
Wie insiders say she can play up to eight events a year on the LPGA Tour without membership. Toss in another seven on the PGA Tour through special exemptions and the schedule starts to fill up quite nicely. As a pro, Wie would also be able to accept appearance fee money for overseas events. Yen, for example, converts quite nicely to dollars thank you very much.
Not being tied down to the LPGA or the PGA tours would give Wie the flexibility to control her own schedule in the immediate and intermediate future.
More recently Golfweek magazine speculated that Nike Golf will sign Wie and that IMG is a leading candidate to be her management firm. Golfweek, too, noted October and the Samsung event, which will be played at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., as a likely time and place.
These scenarios also allow Wie to stay in school if she so chooses. She is scheduled to begin her junior year at the Punahou School in Hawaii. She has stated she eventually wants to attend Stanford University.
One source told me there was a deal cooking where Wie would play professionally 15 events a year as a college student and practice with the Stanford team as a non-member. There is even a scenario out there in which she would sign a deal with a company that would provide 300 hours a year of private jet time.
Its all very heady stuff. And B. J. Wie is a very heady man. He knows the commercial iron is hot and there has never been a better time to strike on the endorsement front.
But B.J. and his wife, Bo, are also good parents. I take both of them at their word when they say they wont commit their daughter to anything she isnt totally on board with.
The international interest in Michelle Wie, at the moment, transcends golf. If this were a perfect world, heres what Id like to see happen with regards to Michelle:
Id like to see her sit down privately with Tiger Woods and ask him all the questions she can think of and a few more to boot. Then I would like to see Tiger give her his opinion of her future.
Nobody in golf knows better what lies ahead for Michelle Wie.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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