New LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bievens has a bit of a problem on her hands. In last week’s LPGA Q-school, teen phenom Morgan Pressel placed sixth, winning a tour card for 2006.
So why is this a problem?
Pressel won’t turn 18 until May 23. And former LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw already had ruled that—even if she got her card—Pressel would be unable to officially play on the tour until then.
That means that she’ll miss some of the biggest events of next season, including the Safeway, Kraft Nabisco, Michelob and Ginn Resorts. She will be able to take six sponsors exemptions, but any money she wins won’t count toward her earnings—and thus won’t go toward keeping her on the money list to keep her card
It would be a terrible injustice—and a marketing nightmare—if this somehow sent her back to Q school next year.
It would be an even bigger problem for the tour if Pressel decided to take the LPGA to court over the issue. And given her take-no-prisoners attitude, I wouldn’t be suprised if that’s one of the options on her list.
The LPGA’s own rules, however, apparently give Bievens an out. The rules apparently give the commissioner the option to allow a player in if they are at least 16 and show the playing ability and financial ability to survive on tour. Neither of those would be a problem for Pressel.
Another interesting problem—although less pressing—will be Michelle Wie. If Pressel is granted an exemption, you can be sure that Team Wie will demand one if and when she goes through Q School next year. And you can be absolutely certain that they WILL sue if they dont’ get what they want.
But that’s in the future. For now, Bievens should do the right thing and give Pressel an exemption. She got her tour card the old fashioned way: she earned it.