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

All Headlines 09:33 February 27, 2013

SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- 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.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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