I think he's too young.
Updated at 8:00 a.m., Thursday, July 12, 2007 Hawaii golf phenom going pro at age 16
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
Tadd Fujikawa celebrated as the ball dropped into the 11th hole on a long birdie try at the Sony Open in Hawai'i. Fujikawa, the second-youngest player in PGA Tour history to make a cut, finished in 20th place.
Hawai'i's remarkable golf saga will take another rare turn this morning when 16-year-old Tadd Fujikawa announces he is forfeiting his amateur status to pursue a professional career.
Fujikawa did something few thought possible in January, upstaging Michelle Wie and becoming the second-youngest in PGA Tour history to make a cut. Fujikawa rose as high as fourth at the Sony Open in Hawai'i before finishing 20th, with a huge smile and before a charmed audience of new best friends.
The Moanalua High School student's life has not been the same since. The family was flooded with offers from sources as varied as tournament sponsors and Oprah Winfrey. He accepted some exemptions for pro events and turned down many more, along with appearance fees and endorsement opportunities.
Beginning today, as a pro, those are all options.
"We feel it's the right time to do it," Fujikawa said. "It's what I really want to do in my life. This is my dream. I just feel if I do it now I can get further and learn a lot quicker than if I play college golf. ... I've always wanted to be a professional and be the best in the world. That is every golfer's dream.
"My parents aren't sure this is the right decision, but I've told them I really want to do this. I'd give everything up for it. I'm going to do the best I can. ... Right now, they just have to trust me."
The family has retained Kevin Bell, an intellectual property law specialist at the Virginia law firm of Patton Boggs, to serve as attorney and agent. Bell has "also developed a practice in the area of sports law and negotiations, with a current focus on professional golf," according to the firm's Web site.
Bell, recommended by a family friend, has been advising the Fujikawas about their options to protect Tadd's amateur status. Now, it will be quite different.
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