Pressel Packs Game Not Shirts

By Associated PressFebruary 19, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Oahu, Hawaii -- Morgan Pressel is quickly learning what it takes to be a pro on the LPGA Tour, including packing your own bags.
 
Days before the 17-year-old rookie's much anticipated pro debut at the SBS Open, and an announcement that she had signed a deal with Polo Ralph Lauren, Pressel didn't bring to Hawaii 15 hand-selected shirts embroidered with her new sponsor's logo.
 
'That's all my grandma's fault,' Pressel said. 'I got my shirts out a couple days early because I was going to be real busy and it was her responsibility to put them in the suit case and she wanted to leave them in the closet so they didn't get wrinkled.
 
'I woke up when we got here and said, 'Grandma, where are my shirts? ... Oh no. You left them at home.''
 
The shirts were neatly hanging in a closet at her Boca Raton, Fla., home -- a world away from Oahu's remote North Shore, where ABC's hit castaway drama 'Lost' is filmed and surfers converge every year for the huge winter swells.
 
Telling a teen to wear 'something else' the first day on the job is like sending them to prom in golf shoes. And it's not like you can hit the neighborhood general store to pick up a few shirts with Polo on the sleeve. It's more likely you'll find grass skirts and coconut bras here.
 
Thank goodness for Fed Ex.
 
Her aunt saved the day by sending the shirts to Hawaii. Pressel got the shipment Tuesday, a day before the pro-am and two days before Polo announced Pressel will appear in its splashy new advertising campaign to begin in April.
 
One thing Pressel didn't forget to bring to the islands was her game.
 
Pressel, the U.S. Amateur champion and U.S. Women's Open runner-up, tied for fifth at the SBS Open with a 7-under 209, three strokes behind winner Joo Mi Kim. Pressel earned $33,952 in her first paycheck from the LPGA.
 
She was only two shots off the lead when she checked the leaderboard before teeing off on No. 10. That's when 'it all went downhill,' she said.
 
'I had problems making solid contact on most of my shots and left myself a lot of long putts and my speed was off. If all those things would've gone a little bit better, who knows what would've happened,' she said.
 
Pressel also defused some of the buildup with her and Michelle Wie heading into this week's Fields Open, where both teens will play.
 
The outspoken Pressel caused a stir a couple weeks ago by saying Wie should have to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open instead of getting an exemption. The comments came a few months after Pressel's candid comment in Fortune magazine that featured Wie on the cover.
 
'She's going to make something like $10 million? For what? For winning one tournament?' she said.
 
Pressel said she doesn't have anything against the 16-year-old star from Honolulu.
 
'I didn't mean anything, especially against Michelle,' Pressel said. 'I just made a statement that everybody else has to qualify and I'm going to stick by that statement. But it will obviously come down to what the USGA says, but it was definitely nothing personal. That's for sure.'
 
Pressel graded herself a B-minus in the debut, but said her first week as a pro was a good learning experience.
 
'Just take away confidence that I didn't necessarily play my best this week but I'm still in there,' she said.
 
She also won't leave home without her shirts again.
 
'I think I will do my own packing from now on, and not worrying about things getting wrinkled -- ironing again is a small price to pay for making sure I have shirts packed!' Pressel wrote in her first blog entry for LPGA.com.
 
In Pressel's defense, she was busy with a charity golf tournament before coming to Hawaii for two weeks.
 
Her next lesson will be: never blame poor ol' grandma.
 
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