U.S.-born golfer Michelle Wie relinquishes S. Korean citizenship: officials

By 윤민식
  • Published : Feb 27, 2013 - 09:48
  • Updated : Feb 27, 2013 - 11:07

Michelle Wie, an LPGA Tour golfer born in the United States to South Korean parents, has recently relinquished her Korean citizenship, officials said Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Wie, 23, was granted permission by the Ministry of Justice to renounce her Korean citizenship as of Feb. 21.

According to officials, foreign natives who hold dual citizenship may abandon their Korean nationality only if they're residing overseas at the moment.

Wie, whose Korean first name is Seong-mi, shot to international fame by playing on the PGA Tour as a hot-shot teenager with prodigious length off the tee. Wie missed the cut at the 2004 Sony Open on the men's tour by one stroke at age 14.

Wie turned pro in October 2005, just before her 16th birthday, and immediately signed lucrative corporate endorsement deals.

In 2006, Wie made the cut at a men's event held in South Korea, the SK Telecom Open. It was co-sanctioned by the Korean and the Asian tours. She has also competed at an LPGA Tour event in South Korea in the past several years.

Wie, with two career LPGA victories, has had a varying degree of success since turning pro. She nosedived from No. 11 in the world at the end of 2006 to 238th in 2008, before bouncing back to No. 10 the following year. She was No. 73 on the latest world rankings released earlier this week.

South Korean golf fans have also embraced Wie, who has often spoken about her love for Korean culture and food in interviews.

Wie represented the U.S. in the Solheim Cup, an international event pitting Americans against Europeans, in 2009 and 2011. (Yonhap News)

<관련 한글 기사>

‘위성미’ 버리고 ‘미셸 위’를 선택하다

한국계 LPGA 골퍼 미셸 위 (24)가 최근 한국 국적을 포기한 것으로 밝혀졌다.

행정안전부가 26일 밝힌 바에 따르면 미셸 위는 21일자로 법무부 장관의 허가를 받아 한국 국적을 이탈했으며, 이탈 사유는 “외국국적 선택”이라고 표기되었다.

미셸 위와 같이 해외에서 태어난 복수국적자인 경우, 해외에 거주하고 있을 때만 국적이탈이 가능하다.

한국이름이 ‘위성미’인 미셸 위는 청소년시절부터 남자대회에 출전할 정도의 장타능력으로 주목을 받았다. 14살이던 2004에는 PGA 소니 오픈에서 세계 정상급 남자선수들과의 대결 끝에 1타 차로 컷오프 (예선탈락)되기도 했다.

그녀는 한국대회에도 여러 번 출전했는데, 2006년에는 SK 텔레콤오픈 대회에 출전해 남자선수들을 제치고 예선통과를 하기도 했다.

위는 2005년 10월에 프로로 전향한 이후 나이키, 소니 등과 거액의 후원 계약을 맺기도 했다.

미국 국적도 갖고 있던 미셸 위는 미국대표로 2009년과 2011년에 솔하임 컵에 출전했다.