Michelle Sung Wie (Korean: Wie Seong-mi Hangul: 위성미 Hanja: 魏聖美, born October 11, 1989) is an American professional golfer who plays on the LPGA Tour.
In 2006, she was named in a Time magazine article: "one of 100 people who shape our world." At age 10, she became the youngest player to qualify for USGA amateur championship. Wie would also become the youngest winner of the US Women's Amateur public links and the youngest to qualify for a LPGA tour event. Wie turned professional with an enormous amount of hype and endorsements, but she has failed to win a LPGA event, which has led to her career being viewed as a disappointment.
Family and education
Wie was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her parents are both natives of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) who came to the United States in the 1980s. Her father, Byung-wook Wie, is a former professor of transportation management at the University of Hawaii. Her mother was South Korea's women's amateur golf champion in 1985 Her paternal grandfather, a native of Jangheung, Jeollanam-do, was an emeritus professor at Seoul National University.
Wie graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii in June 2007. On December 19, 2006, she announced that she would be attending Stanford University where there are family ties, as her paternal grandfather was a visiting professor and an aunt and uncle are both graduates. She enrolled in September 2007 as a freshman but as a professional golfer, Wie is not eligible under NCAA rules to play for Stanford's golf team. During her first two years at Stanford she attended only during the fall and winter quarters, taking a leave of absence to play professional golf during the spring and summer quarters.
Amateur career 2000–2005
Wie began playing golf at the age of four and eleven years later declared that "The first time I grabbed a golf club, I knew that I'd do it for the rest of my life." In the summer of 2000, at the age of ten, she became the youngest player ever to qualify for the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, a record that stood for eight years until broken by a fellow Hawaiian, Allisen Corpuz, who was five months younger than Wie. In 2001, at the age of 11, she won both the Hawaii State Women’s Stroke Play Championship and the Jennie K. Wilson Women’s Invitational, the oldest and most prestigious women’s amateur tournament in Hawaii. She also advanced into match play at the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and shot a personal-best 64 from the 5,400-yard tees at the Olomana Golf Links course in Hawaii.
2002 saw her win the Hawaii State Open Women's Division by thirteen shots over LPGA player Cindy Rarick and become, at age 12, the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA event, the Takefuji Classic held in Wie's home state of Hawaii. Her record stood for five years until 2007, when it was broken by 11-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn. At the Takefuji Classic, from February 2008-Mar 2, 2002, Wie missed the cut after shooting a 6-over 146.
At the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship she became the youngest player to make an LPGA cut, and shot 66 in the 3rd round, tying the amateur record for a women's major championship and played in the final group with Annika Sörenstam and eventual winner, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc. In June 2003, Wie won the Women's Amateur Public Links tournament, becoming the youngest person ever, male or female, to win a USGA adult event. She also made the cut at the US Women's Open, the youngest player to do so.
She was given a sponsor's exemption to the 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii, becoming the fourth and youngest female to play a PGA Tour event. she shot 72-68 to finish at even par, missing the cut by one stroke. After finishing fourth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and became the youngest woman to play the Curtis Cup as part of the victorious U.S.team. Wie started her 2005 season by accepting another sponsor's invitation to play in the PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii where she again missed the cut. Her next outing at the LPGA SBS Open at Turtle Bay was more successful as she finished second, the spot she also finished at the LPGA Championship.
At the U.S. Women's Open, she finished the third round in a three-way tie for the lead, but scored an 82 in the final round, and finished tied for 23rd. The week after, she played in the John Deere Classic, her third outing at a PGA Tour event, missing the cut by two strokes. After becoming the first female golfer to qualify for a USGA national men's tournament, tying for first place in a 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Public Links, Wie made the top 64 in the stroke play rounds to qualify for match play. She lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Clay Ogden. In Europe she played in the Evian Masters, a major on the Ladies European Tour and a regular LPGA event, finishing in a tie for second. The week after, she finished tied for third at the Women's British Open, the fourth and final major of the year.
On October 5, 2005, a week before her 16th birthday, Wie announced that she was turning professional, signing sponsorship contracts with Nike and Sony reportedly worth more than ten million dollars per year. At the same time she announced a pledge of half a million dollars for the U.S. Golf Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.
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