Originally created 09/22/05

Sources say Wie close to going pro



Everywhere she goes, people can't help but notice Michelle Wie.

As a 13-year-old still wearing a retainer, she was warming up on the practice range for a junior pro-am at the Sony Open in Honolulu. When she pulled out her driver, five PGA Tour players on both sides of her stopped to watch her launch tee shots that approached the 300-yard marker.

Last year in Portugal, where Wie received the Laureus World Newcomer of the Year award, she walked into the banquet room filled with celebrities that included Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Placido Domingo.

"Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and watched her go to her table," said Greg Nared, a Nike business manager who has been tracking Wie the past two years. "That told me a lot."

The 15-year-old from Hawaii who commands so much attention is on the verge of commanding top money. Wie is about to turn pro, and endorsements estimated to be worth as much as $10 million a year await.

Two sources close to Wie, speaking on condition of anonymity because she is still an amateur, said the announcement will not be made until deals are signed.

That could be done before the Samsung World Championship, which starts Oct. 13, two days after her 16th birthday.

"There is nothing to say until everything is completed," her father, B.J. Wie, said Wednesday.