Teen golf phenom Morgan Pressel has been granted an exemption from the LPGA’s minimum age requirement, and will be eligible to play as a full member beginning in February, 2006. LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens said in a Monday statement that:
“I am pleased to announce that I’ve granted Morgan Pressel full LPGA Tour membership starting in January 2006. Morgan is an exceptionally talented young player who will be a terrific addition to the 2006 LPGA Tour. She presents a unique combination of academic and golf achievements and I am impressed with Morgan’s abilities.”
Although previous commissioner Ty Votaw had said Morgan would not be eligible to play on the tour until her birthday, on May 26, Pressel’s sixth place finish at this past fall’s Q school sent a clear statement that she was ready.
I think that the LPGA made the right decision here. Not admitting her would be a public relations disaster for the LPGA, as I said in a post some weeks ago. Now, the tour can focus on capitalizing on the starpower of the young players on the tour.
This could be a banner year for the LPGA, and for the game of golf as a whole. Lots of recent studies have indicated that golf is stagnating, or slipping in terms of rounds played. If the young LPGA players can generate a collective “Tiger Effect”, it could attract more women to the game.