Pressel, the 17-year-old high school student from Boca Raton, Fla., who finished in a second-place tie at the 2005 U.S. Women's Open, had petitioned the LPGA for membership in 2006 previously. But because she is under the prescribed entrance age of 18, former commissioner Ty Votaw ruled that she would have to wait until her 18th birthday to earn official LPGA money.
'Morgan is an exceptionally talented young player who will be a terrific addition to the 2006 LPGA Tour,' Bivens said in a statement. 'She presents a unique combination of academic and golf achievements and I am impressed with Morgan's abilities.
'She is an accomplished athlete and an exceptional student who is on track to graduate with honors in the spring. In addition, we've received numerous letters of support from people who have known Morgan throughout her academic, golf and family life and they've echoed our impressions.'
Bivens said the decision is still consistent with Votaw's.
'The decision we made earlier this year was the right decision at the time, but after additional evaluation of her performance on the LPGA Tour over the last several months and conversations with Morgan and her family, I am now confident she's ready to compete successfully on the LPGA Tour,' Bivens said.
Pressel could hardly contain herself at the news.
'Becoming a full-time member of the LPGA is a dream come true,' she said. 'I am thrilled that Commissioner Bivens has granted me special permission to begin competing as an official member of the tour right from the start of the 2006 season. I can't wait for the season to start, and to be able to fully compete and be a part of the rookie race. Also, having a full season to try and qualify for the LPGA Playoffs at The ADT is a great opportunity.'