Wie signs with IMG
Michelle Wie, who recently ended her association with the William Morris Agency, has signed with IMG to represent her, to the surprise of virtually no one. Golf World's Ron Sirak last week speculated that IMG was on deck.
Wie's statement: "I'm very excited about this season which represents a fresh new start for me. There is such great talent and competition on the LPGA Tour and my focus is on building the foundation for a long and successful career, and of course, getting that first tournament win. I believe that IMG, with all of their resources worldwide and achievements in professional golf, will help me reach those goals."
Here's a statement from IMG's Clarke Jones, senior vice president global director of golf clients: "We have all watched the rise in popularity of women's golf, and Michelle Wie certainly is a prime example of the outstanding talent on the LPGA Tour and the bright future of the sport. Michelle is an amazing talent and IMG is delighted to be working with her and her family to provide the best management and marketing support in the world, allowing her to focus on her top priority - competing week in and week out on the golf course."
IMG has a challenge if it intends to maintain or exceed Wie's $12.5 million in annual endorsement earnings. As Sirak pointed out, her five-year contracts with Nike, Sony and Omega watches expire next year.
UPDATE: __Sirak spoke with Jones, who added this: "I think Michelle Wie is an important figure in golf, period. But the focus now is on women's golf. The focus now needs to be on Michelle winning golf tournaments. She is a true talent. She enjoys being at Stanford and she is seeking balance in her life. But I think she is going to play a lot of golf the next few months. This represents a fresh start for her."
-- John Strege