- John Hawkins
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Teen phenom Michelle Wie will officially turn pro on Wednesday, Golf World has learned, signing deals worth an estimated $10 million annually, then making her competitive debut the next week at the LPGA's Samsung World Championship.
Endorsement contracts with Nike and Sony have been finalized, according to multiple sources, clearing the way for Wie to make an announcement Wednesday in Honolulu.
She'll make it official at the Kahala Mandarin Hotel near Waialae Country Club, where she has twice played in the Sony Open. The time was set at 8 a.m. so Wie could get to class at Punahou School. The idea was to allow her to stick to her routine, although she'll be the only junior already a millionaire.
As recently as Monday night, an agreement with Nike appeared to be in jeopardy. Issues involving the amount of control Nike would have in determining Wie's career direction remained a sticking point throughout the negotiations, sources say, but the conflict was resolved late Wednesday.
Wie will wear Nike apparel and use the company's golf equipment. Sony, the title sponsor of the Honolulu-based event in which Wie made her first two PGA Tour starts, is also part of an endorsement package that will make Wie the world's highest-paid female golfer -- a player whose willingness to compete against men has translated into widespread marketing appeal.
In late November, Wie will play in the Casio World Open, a men's event on the Japan PGA Tour. Her 2006 schedule is expected to include the Sony Open and several other PGA Tour events, up to eight LPGA tournaments (including the U.S. Women's Open and Women's British Open) and a mix of overseas appearances.
John Hawkins is a senior writer for Golf World magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Teen phenom Michelle Wie will officially turn pro on Oct. 5, Golf World has learned, signing deals worth an estimated $10 million annually.