<body>

Grouchy Golf Blog

Friday, July 22, 2005 at 9:55 AM

Wie to Turn Pro in October...

According to Michael Buteau of Bloomberg News, Golfweek magazine reports in its "Forecaddie" section of the July 23, 2005 issue:
"Michelle Wie will turn professional in October and sign a multiyear endorsement contract with Nike Inc.'s golf division worth $10 million to $12 million.

Wie turns 16, the age limit to enter tournaments as a professional on the LPGA Tour, on Oct. 11...[she] will make her professional debut at the LPGA's Samsung World Championships, held Oct. 13-16 in Palm Desert, California."
No source was mentioned, so take this story with a grain of salt. However, if it is true, I think that it's a great decision on the Wie's part. While going pro doesn't necessarily mean that Michelle will be granted full-time status on the LPGA Tour, it will provide the Wies with financial security. As Matt Kuchar learned the hard way, you gotta take the money and run.

I believe that Michelle can play full-time right now on the LPGA. Her results at LPGA tournaments this year speak for themselves. In just six LPGA tournaments, Michelle has already won, but couldn't collect, $530,000. That's good enough for 13th on the money list. She is too good for NCAA golf and too young for the PGA. Hey, if Freddy Adu can play Major League Soccer successfully at age 14, why can't Michelle do the same in golf?

According to the rules, an LPGA member must be at least 18 years old. However, there is a clause where anyone who is at least 16 years old can petition the commissioner for a special exemption. If the LPGA commissioner doesn't grant this exemption to Michelle, then they should just eliminate it altogether because there will never be another 16 year old that deserves it more. The LPGA needs Michelle and I believe that she will become the youngest member of the LPGA. Good luck Michelle!

Photo by Alexanderk/WireImage.com

Labels:

Blogger Miranda said...

I think this will be good for Michelle. She needs more competitive experience to help her learn how to put together 4 winning rounds. Hopefully, she won't completely ignore her education though and continue to learn about things other than golf. And this will be temendous for the LPGA tour. They will have Creamer and Wie to market and will be raking in the money considering how young they both are.  

~

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grain of salt time here. The outgoing LPGA commissioner has demonstrated a consistent unwillingness to let other teen players in until they reach their 18th birthday. I can't see how the new commissioner would see it any different.

I'll believe it when I see it.

http://golf.about.com/b/a/187902.htm  

~

Anonymous Wedgehead said...

What about The Masters? Is she still in contention for the amatuer exemption?

The thing that intrigues me most about "The Michelle Wie Show" is the "Reality TV" aspect of it.

Her parents are running this "show", and seems they have some sort of master plan (no pun intended). It kind of freaks me out, in a "I have to watch kind of way!"

It can only end in humiliation.
We'll see. Poor kid.

And hey Grouch, I would be flattered if you used my story, one 1 condition:...make me a 4th sometime. I don't have e-mail set-up yet, but will send you my info when I get off my butt and open a new account, probably this weekend.  

~

Blogger woundedduck said...

Oh hell yes she should take the money! Not that she'll ever need to support herself with non-golf skills, but if she wanted to simply better herself, she could go to college when she's 30, after her golf career has or has not fallen apart. She'd better finsih high school at least, because if she's ever on Letterman or the Daily Show, she'll need to have something pithy and relevant to say.

Wedgehead, regarding her amateur shot at the Masters, she didn't win the Publinks, so unless there's another big amateur event coming up, she'll have to wait another year (which I think is good. It would be better for her if she qualified for a regular event before jumping into the deep end of the pool at the Masters.)  

~

Blogger Miranda said...

Even if Wie earned an amateur exemption to the Masters, there's no guarantee that the people who run the tournament would let her play. Augusta National is a men's only club, and those who run the tournament pride themselves on tradition above all else. And tradition may mean no women to play in the tournament. I've been reading Feinstein's book "A Good Walk Spoiled" and from what I've read about the Masters, I can see them declining to invite Wie to play.  

~

Blogger Golf Grouch said...

Wedgehead,

Sounds good, definitely email me when you can.

As Michelle Wie is concerned, just look how much money she left on the table this year by maintaining her amateur status. That's enough incentive to turn pro, IMHO.

If the LPGA doesn't grant Wie full-time status, she still has a great shot to earn her tour card for the following year. I believe that you need to place in the top 90 at the end of the year to earn a tour card. Wie would have accomplished that this year if she were a pro playing only the sponsor exemptions! Just give her the damn card.  

~

Anonymous Bryan said...

I personally think that would be a foolish decision.

She is almost 16 and I think we, as a society, are stuffing our kids at way too young of an age onto the professional circuit.

Sure she is great, but I agree with others, she has yet to win any major tournament, regardless of how good she is.

She needs to continue school, try more amateur tournaments, and go play in college. She could go to ANY university she wants. She is going to lose ALOT of the social aspects of her young life if she turns pro, because her experience will be that of Tiger Woods. Sure, he is the best in the world and Michelle could probably be the best, but hopping on at 16 is rediculous in my opinion.  

~

Post a Comment