Free Morgan!

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.


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2 thoughts on “Free Morgan!”

  1. Hang onnn a second. It’s all very well giving it the ‘ahhh poor Morgan Pressel’, but surely she knew before she entered that she wouldn’t be able to qualify. It’s not like someone just invented the rule when she looked like qualifying, this rule has been spoken about ever since Michelle Wie started causing a fuss a few years back. I think Morgan has taken a gamble knowing that she couldn’t compete until halfway but reckons she has the talent to pull through. If she ends up going back to Tour School then she will have to try again. That’s life.

  2. It may be life, but I still think it will be a PR and legal disaster for the LPGA. Rather than be hamstrung by Votaw’s decision, Bievens could avoid a lot of trouble by letting her play.

    Pressel has made a good case for an exemption. She could have been a dilettante like Wie, but has done everything correctly.

    The LPGA would benefit greatly by letting her in.


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