The losses for Michelle Wie keep piling up even though her LPGA
Tour season is over. The latest came Monday when her agent resigned
after less than a year on the job.
Greg Nared, a former Nike business manager whom the William
Morris Agency hired a year ago to manage Wie, resigned as vice
president of golf. His announcement came one day after Wie finished
19th in a 20-player field at the Samsung World Championship.
"After careful consideration for my future, I have resigned
effective immediately," Nared said in a statement e-mailed to The
Associated Press. "I'm very grateful to the William Morris Agency
for the opportunity to work with world-class athletes. It has been
an invaluable experience and I'll forever cherish [it]."
Nared declined to elaborate when contacted before flying home to
Oregon. Jill Smoller, to whom Nared reported at William Morris, did
not immediately return a call.
"While we are sorry that Greg will no longer be handling the
road management of Michelle, we wish to thank him for his work and
wish him the best going forward," Jesse Derris, a spokesman for
the Wie family, said in a statement. "The core group of agents
handling Michelle's business relationships remains intact, as it
has from day one of her professional career."
Wie, a Stanford freshman who celebrated her 18th birthday
Thursday, played her eighth and final LPGA event at Samsung. She
ended her season with a 76.7 scoring average, broke par only twice,
failed to record a single round in the 60s and made only two cuts (with a 20-player field, Samsung did not have a cut).
Wie turned pro in October 2005 and was managed by Ross Berlin, a
former PGA Tour executive hired by the William Morris Agency as
Berlin had disagreements with Wie's parents on her schedule,
particularly in late 2006 when Wie was taken out of her senior year
at Punahou School in Honolulu to play a European Tour men's event
in Switzerland, then the following week outside Pittsburgh on the
PGA Tour at the 84 Lumber Classic. She finished last in both events.
Berlin resigned after the Samsung last year and returned to the
tour. He was replaced by Nared, a former Maryland basketball player
who had been a constant presence around Wie when he worked at Nike
and was well-liked by the teenager and her family. Wie signed
endorsement deals with Nike and Sony when she turned pro.
Nared quietly endured the heavy criticism that followed Wie during her most tumultuous year.
He was the in middle of her biggest controversy at the Ginn
Tribute in South Carolina in the spring, conferring with her on the
16th tee moments before she withdrew. Wie was 14 over par through
16 holes when she quit, and it appeared as though she was trying to
avoid the LPGA's "Rule 88," in which nonmembers are ineligible
for one year if they shoot 88 or higher.
Wie then showed up at Bulle Rock two days later to practice for
the McDonald's LPGA Championship, and Annika Sorenstam harshly
denounced the move as disrespectful.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.