(AP) – 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 three cuts.
Wie turned pro in October 2005 and was managed by Ross Berlin, a former PGA Tour executive hired by the William Morris Agency as Wie’s agent.
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.