NEW ZEALAND (April 14, 2009)--New Zealand amateur Danny Lee will sign a pro golf deal with sports management giant IMG reputedly worth US$10m ($17.55m).
The world's No 1 amateur will play his first tournament as a professional at the US$6.3m Zurich Classic of New Orleans at the TPC Louisiana course from April 23-26.
Lee joins Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, Trevor Immelman and countryman Michael Campbell as clients of IMG (International Management Group).
Lee ended a glittering amateur career at Augusta National last Friday, missing the cut at the Masters after carding a disappointing 11-over par tally over two rounds.
The 18-year-old joins the professional ranks with the US Amateur and Western Amateur titles to his credit and the Johnnie Walker Classic trophy he captured in Perth in February to become the youngest winner of a European tour event.
Two weeks ago, Lee won the prestigious Georgia Cup, a match between the US and British Amateur champions.
By signing with IMG, Lee has given up his berths, as an amateur, for this year's British and US Open championships, gained after winning the US Amateur.
Lee was shadowed all week at the Masters by IMG's US-based client manager, Sherry Whay, who also tends the business interests of former US Open champion, Jim Furyk.
Lee's sign-on fee is expected to be similar to Northern Ireland teenager, Rory McIlroy, who joined the pro ranks in a blaze of publicity in September 2007.
Lee is spending this week at the Georgia Country Club in Atlanta as a guest of the club that hosted the Georgia Cup.
Joining Lee in New Orleans will be fellow New Zealander, Tim Wilkinson, who was third in the event last year.