Inside the Ropes Michelle Wie the beginning of the Global Domination


What do you get a 16 year old for her birthday? Well, if youre buying for Michelle Wie I would steer clear of any golf clothing or equipment and stick with enhancing her jewelry collection because on October 5th, six days before her birthday, Nike and Sony are rumored to be giving her quite the early birthday present. Wie plans to announce her decision to turn pro Wednesday in Honolulu at the Kahala Mandarin Hotel near Waialae Country Club.
Nike and Sony are rumored to be her new sponsors, with the Nike endorsement looking at $4 million to $5 million a year. But Wie will not be turning her back on her education once her new wealth starts rolling in. B.J. Wie, her father and a professor at the University of Hawaii, assures everyone that his daughter will finish out her final two years at the Punahou School before heading off to a university.
Now, you may be asking yourself, How does she plan to play in all these tournaments every week while attending school? The answer to this is Tour policies. If you are under the age of 18, the LPGA Tour states that you can play with a sponsors exemption for a maximum of six tournaments, excluding the U.S. Womens Open and the Womens British Open. On the PGA Tour, Wie can take up to seven exemptions. Between these two tours she could be playing up to 15 tournaments next year, while your average PGA Tour Pro plays around 23 tournaments a year. It seems as though Wie wants to establish herself on these tours even though she will be courted to play overseas for appearance money.
So, without the money she may make on the actual golf course, Wie will bring in about $10 million a year. And keep in mind that this is just the beginning.
But dont worry about Wie letting the money go to her head, she is one smart girl. In addition to being fluent in Korean, she also takes classes in Japanese and Chinese. The marketability of Wie has endless possibilities. With her youth, ethnicity, and unparalleled athletic ability the marketing categories are as far as the eye can see.
Standing at an imposing 6 feet tall, Wie already has two tournaments as a pro on her plate for 2005. October 13-16th she will be competing at the invitation only Samsung World Championship in Palm Desert, CA against a field of 20 players that includes Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park. On November 24-27th the Casio World Open will take place in Tokyo.
Join The Golf Channel Thursday, October 6th at 8:30 PM/ET for an hour-long special on golfs newest phenomenon. With commentary from Sergio Garcia, Annika Sorenstam, Dottie Pepper, Paul Azinger, and LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens it will be a show not to be missed.