Confident Pressel Ready for Pros

By Mercer BaggsNovember 17, 2005, 5:00 pm
By sight there is nothing intimidating about her. Shes 54 at best, her build is solid; her hair is long and blonde.
Her eyes are green; her smile is wide. She really has that younger sister kind of look.
Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel played in seven LPGA Tour events in 2005, never finishing outside the top 25.
But this isnt the kind of 17-year-old girl you need to baby or protect. This is the kind of 17-year-old girl that beats you at golf. Badly. After telling you that she was going to do it. And has no remorse over your defeat.
This is Morgan Pressel: newly-turned teenage professional; LPGA Tour hopeful; and future superstar.
Pressel, who officially declared professional status Thursday, is not Michelle Wie. She doesnt have Wies physical characteristics. She doesnt have her money. She doesnt have her fame.
But Wie doesnt have Pressels amateur record. She doesnt have her trophies. And she doesnt have that ber confidence that comes along with all that success.
My goal is to be No. 1. Theres nothing better than to be No. 1, Pressel said.
Pressel has been the No. 1 junior player, the No. 1 amateur player, and now she wants to be the No. 1 player in all of womens golf.
First, she has to make through Q-school.
Pressel will compete in the final stage of the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in two weeks. She will be one of 144 players vying for 24 tour cards for the 2006 season.
But even if she gets through, she wont be an official LPGA Tour member until May 23. Thats when she turns 18. And thats when tour officials have decided to award her full status.
She applied for early membership earlier this year, but was denied by then commissioner Ty Votaw. So now ' assuming that she can get one of those two dozen cards ' she will have to rely on her allotment of six sponsors exemptions in order to compete over the first five months of next year. And while shell be able to pocket her earnings, none of it will be official.
Its still why? Whats the point? Pressel asked incredulously. Why cant I play sponsors exemptions and be a tour member? It doesnt make any sense to me.
Its a good bet that Pressel will graduate from Q-school, but its not a guarantee.
She barely made it out of the first stage, where she was over par and near the cut line after three rounds of the 72-hole qualifier. But she didnt get frustrated or flustered. She got aggressive. And she shot 9-under 63 to bolt into the final stage.
Pressel is aggressive by nature. Her grandfather, Herb Krickstein, says she gets her competitiveness from her mother, Kathy, who died of cancer two years ago.
Morgan still gets teary-eyed when the subject of her mother enters into conversation. She also cries when she wins, and cries when she loses.
Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel wipes away a tear at the U.S. Women's Open.
She nearly won this years U.S. Womens Open, only to be dealt a crushing defeat by a fluke bunker hole-out by Birdie Kim. She cried that day. And then she cried when she failed to win the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur Championship.
She cried even more a month later, when she won the biggest amateur prize of them all, the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship.
Shes quite emotional because she takes everything personally, and expects so much out of herself.
Those expectations are warranted. And they wont diminish simply because her level of competition is about to greatly increase.
The goal is to win. Not just to beat Michelle, not just to beat Paula (Creamer), not just to beat Annika (Sorenstam), but the goal is to win, she said.
Thats Pressels goal for the Q-school finals. She doesnt want to be among the 24 card recipients. She doesnt want to have to worry about needing a closing 63 to graduate.
Im going to go out and try to win, because first place is going to get in for sure, she said.
Winning is always at the forefront of Pressels mind, because winning makes her the best. Its what shes always been at every level of golf, and what she wants to continue to be.
It wont be easy. Sorenstam isnt going to go away anytime soon. Creamer will be a formidable foe for many years to come. The tour has a bevy of talented 20-somethings from around the world. And there are plenty of other accomplished teenagers just waiting to make their mark.
And then theres Wie.
Pressel has been vocal in her criticisms of her 16-year-old rival, the one she defeated 3 and 2 in the 2003 Girls Junior ' about her lack of amateur pedigree, about her exposure, about the merits of her things given.
Because of Wies eschewing of most amateur tournaments and penchant for playing in professional events, the two have rarely gone head-to-head.
But Pressel cant wait for the opportunity to match their skills over the coming years.
Rivalries can be a great thing; they can bring a lot of attention to the tour, she said, and then added with a broad smile of confidence. Im not going to shy away from it.
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Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

BORN IN 1912

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.

BORN IN 1949

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.

BORN IN 1955

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.

BORN IN 1980

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.