I admit to falling behind once in a while with the arrival of great young players. However, the American wave that brought Morgan Pressel onto the tour was pointed out to me by a fellow golf fanatic.Â He said, “You’ve got to see this kid play. The fans are crazy about her. She’s a total bully!” I don’t know why, but in that moment, I thought of Pistol’s testimonial to Henry V on the day before battleâ€¦ “I love the lovely bully.” Seems like a lot of golf fans feel the same way.
Alerted to his description, I drew up to the Â screen, popcorn at the ready, wondering why this Morgan Pressel person wasn’t annihilating the field every week. Well, she was young, probably intimated by the whole thing, and after all, sheÂ was in the big leagues now -she’d get it going. Boy, talk about not doing my homework.
After cutting a Tigerish swath through the amateur ranks by winning everything there was to win, Ms. Pressel turned pro at seventeen, became the youngest winner of an LPGA major and rose to fourth in the world before prom night was barely in the conversation. Qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open at the age of twelve (no, that’s not a typo), she came down the last fairway five years later as a co-leader.Â She almost never misses a cut, has a scoring average below seventy one for entire seasons, and is already the touring pro for St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. She is also undefeated in Solheim match play. Intimidated? I don’t think so. I can’t speak to her being a bully, but she has the core quality of a championship golfer â€“ she responds.
I didn’t realize just how true that is until I researched the Morgan Pressel Foundation, established after the loss of her mother to breast cancer a few short years ago.Â In 2011, the fourth annual Morgan and Friends Fight Cancer Golf Tournament was held at St. Andrews. The event has raised well over a million dollars since its creation, and in 2010, purchased the Evelyn KricksteinÂ Mammovan for the Florida region. Breast cancer has hit the women’s tour and its families hard, but championship golfers are not Â by nature prone to timidity, and as one might expect, Morgan Pressel,Â inspired by her own experience, has responded.
I was further enlightened by a recent article describing Ms. Pressel’s generous interactions with a young fan over a period of time, a tendency I am glad to see with some frequency on the tour. I once thought that these wunderkinds of the course were just children with freakishly mature golf chops, but many have mastered self-clarity and a sense of mission as well, gaining an early grasp of their own substance.
It’s just a hunch, but with such a scoring average and tenacity, we might see this young golfer explode on a few big tournaments to come. That would be fun. I have a lot of favorites on the tour, and on some weeks, I just don’t know which one to root forâ€¦but as for Morgan Pressel, I’ve done my homework now, so count me in with the crowd who “loves the lovely bully.”