A village where some of the older generation of Michelle Wie's family live celebrated early Monday morning when the U.S. golfer born to Korean parents finally won a U.S. LPGA tour event, the Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.
Five households related to Wie's late grandfather Wie Sang-gyu live in Gidong-ri, Busan-myeon.
The members of Wie's extended family exchanged congratulations with each other after watching Wie's victory live on TV.
"We feel proud of her," said Choi Chang-yong, 73, who married Wie's grandfather's sister. "We know that Wie has been frustrated by a string of second-place finishes. We are glad she finally won."
A Korean-language story is available here from Yonhap. Busan-myeon is a small administrative division in a small county in Jeollanam-do, and has a population of 1,706.
I wrote about Wie's Jangheung connection in December, 2007, and brought up an article about a less-remarkable relative. From the Dong-A Ilbo on November 15, 2005:
Police have arrested a Mr. Wie (46) on November 14 for posing as 16-year-old American professional golfer Michelle Wie’s close relative and swindling hundreds of millions of won.
According to police, Wie courted investors beginning in late 2004, saying, “a ‘Michelle Wie golf course’ will be constructed in her hometown of Jangheung, Jeonnam, and we will build a shoe sterilizing factory there, which will give a 940 percent rate of return in just four months.”
He is suspected of gleaning 14.7 billion won from some 970 investors by promising principal and interest, and embezzling 300 million won outright.
Police reported, “Wie introduced himself as Michelle Wie’s relative and printed pictures of him and Michelle Wie taken together on advertising fliers.” Police noted that Mr. Wie was an unacquainted remote relative of Michelle Wie’s.
Wie's hometown isn't Jangheung, by the way, though her father worked to play up her Koreanness when she first became a big name. He told a local paper in 2006 (2):
“I’m well aware there that some say, since Michelle Wie is an American why is she making such a fuss. But you know what, the only thing about her that’s American is her passport, she is “definitely” Korean.” The golfer’s favorite dish is “rice with pork Kimchi soup with extra tofu and toasted seaweed on the side.” Her mouth waters when she hears about Bossam (boiled pork) or steamed codfish, and Soondae (Korean sausage) and Deokbokki (broiled rice pasta with Korean chilli paste sauce). She may have been born in America but her first words were Korean, and she did not start learning English until after she was attending school.