LPGA player Michelle Wie has a reputation of one of the most exciting players of the time—and towering in at 6’11, she’s one of the tallest as well. It’s not a shock that she is known as the Big Wiesy, but what is shocking is the fact that she turned Pro at 15 with a ten-million-dollar sponsorship package from Nike and Sony.
Wie’s golf career started long before her sponsorship deal as she began playing at four years of age. At ten she qualified for a USGA amateur championship and was the youngest player to do so! She was also the youngest player to win the US Women’s amateur championship and the youngest player to meet the criteria for an LPGA TOUR event. Wie went on to get a sponsorship exemption in 2006 to enable her to play in a PGA tour, at age 16, and made the cut. She then went on to play in six PGA tour events and narrowly missed the cut every other time.
Wie is a truly fantastic player, being able to drive the ball 300 yards at thirteen years of age proved she was something special. She has many LPGA TOUR wins under her belt, including:
- Lorena Ochoa Invitational, November 15, 2009
- CN Canadian Women’s Open, August 29, 2010
- LPGA Lotte Championship, April 19, 2014
- S. Women’s Open, June 22, 2014
- HSBC Women’s World Championship, March 4, 2018
Despite all her accolades, Wie has been at the center of some negative media. In 2017 she sustained a wrist injury, but did not speak openly to the media about it. This led to many to theorize that it was made-up in order to give Wie a break from golf. Wie later shared that she had broken her wrist and had been in significant pain whilst it healed.
Wie has been widely criticised for her use of exemptions throughout her career, including her participation in the LGPA TOUR after she refused to partake in the qualifying school. These criticisms ceased after she qualified via the qualifying tournament in the 2008 LGPA TOUR qualifying round.
Wie is also famous for her caddie turnover. Her father was her caddie until 2004 when he stepped away from the role. Wie has worked with a number of different caddies ever since. Some of her former caddies have claimed that they were not treated well by Wie, saying that they were dismissed by other people rather than Wie personally.
Wie announced in June that she was taking the rest of the year off to concentrate on her health as she had been struggling with previous injuries. She had an operation on her right-hand last year and suffers from arthritis in both her wrists. Taking time off to rest and recuperate will allow her to continue playing well into her life, rather than burning out with injuries early on.
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🚨US Open Official Statement🚨 While I’m making progress with my recovery, I have decided to withdraw from the US Women’s Open. It was a difficult decision to make because the US Open was one that I was looking forward to playing in all year, but my recovery and health is the priority. Thanks so much for all the messages of support – they really keep my spirits up. I am hopeful that I’ll be seeing you all back out on Tour very soon! ❤️, Michelle
Currently, Wie is dabbling in TV and presenting on Golf Central but has said that getting back to the LPGA is her number one priority.
Wie was born and raised in Hawaii to Korean immigrant parents. Wie’s mom has a love of golf, having been crowned South Korean’s Amateur Golf Champion in 1985—four years before Wie was born. Wie had dual citizenship for both America and South Korea, but renounced her Korean citizenship in 2013.
After finishing school, Wie went to Stanford University but was not able to play collegiately as she had turned pro at 15. At Stanford, she majored in Communications. Wie missed much of her time at university due to playing golf and had to take extended leaves of absence.
Wie is active on social media and has over 400K followers on Twitter alone. She extolls the virtues of eating gluten free and describes herself as an adventurous eater.
Wie married Jonnie West in August in Beverly Hills with many pro golfers as guests for the ceremony and after party. West is the son of Jerry West, NBA legend. The couple announced their engagement in March. The wedding was a lavish affair and posted widely on social media.
Full name: Michelle Sung Wie
Nickname: Big Wiesy
Born: October 11, 1989
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Turned pro: 2005, age 15