October 05, 2005

Michelle Wie announces she will turn pro

HONOLULU, HI (5 October, 2005) – Michelle Wie, the teen golf phenom, announced today that she would turn professional at a press conference at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Wie, who will turn 16 on October 11, also pledged to donate $500,000 to the U.S. Golf Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

It was also announced today that the William Morris Agency will represent Wie in all of her professional endeavors, and that she has agreed to multi-year professional relationships with both Nike and Sony. Details of the agreements were not disclosed.

“I am excited to start my journey as a professional golfer,” said Wie. “I fell in love with the game the first day I picked up a club, and to have the opportunity to play at the highest levels of competition is both an honor and a privilege.”

“It was a natural step for me to sign on with the William Morris Agency,” Wie continued. Their experience, expertise and guidance has been especially helpful in forging my new long-term partnerships with both Nike and Sony.”

“I am grateful to be in a position to be able to lend a hand to the victims of Hurricane Katrina,” Wie continued. “Turning professional affords me the ability to give back to those in need. Watching other Americans suffer the indignities that this storm has caused really drove home my desire to reach out.”

Michelle Wie was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 11, 1989. She began playing golf when she was four. Wie is the youngest golfer ever to qualify for a USGA amateur championship and for an event on the LPGA Tour. She will make her professional debut next week at the LPGA Samsung World Championship.

“The William Morris Agency is honored to work with an extraordinary athlete like Michelle,” said the agency in a statement. “There is no question that her abilities go well beyond the golf course. We look forward to taking each new step with Michelle, and working closely with her to achieve all her goals and objectives.”

"Developing a strategic business relationship with Michelle Wie is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Hideki (Dick) Komiyama, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics Inc. "There are very few athletes who have the talent and charisma that can further strengthen the Sony brand which is already one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world."

Sony's relationship with Michelle started in 2004 when she first joined our PGA event, the Sony Open in Hawaii as an amateur exception. Her appearances at the tournament not only brought excitement to the golf tournament, but to the game of golf around the world. Sony firmly believes that this significant expansion of its business relationship with Michelle will help the company’s brand maintain the strong position in the industry and grow much more during her time with Sony.

“Michelle Wie is a tremendous source of inspiration to athletes of every age. She is poised beyond her years, and has already demonstrated a talent and character that give her the potential to transcend her sport,” said Bob Wood, President of Nike Golf. “We are proud to welcome her to the Nike family.”

Wie will tee off at the Samsung World Championship next week in Palm Desert, Calif. playing Nike Golf’s new Sasquatch driver and fairway woods, joining Justin Leonard and K.J. Choi as some of the first to put golf’s latest advancements in club technology into play. Her affinity toward Nike Golf’s equipment, including the new Nike One Platinum golf ball, extends to Nike’s innovative performance apparel and footwear which she will wear exclusively on Tour.