As recently as 6 weeks ago, it looked like three-time Solheim Cup Team USA player (2007, 2009, 2011) Morgan Pressel wouldn’t make the 2013 team. She languished at 51 in the Rolex Rankings, was barely recovered from a thumb injury that had plagued her golf game for a year or more, and just didn’t seem to have the juice.
In the 10 LPGA events leading up to the Wegmans LPGA Championship in early June, Pressel had missed 5 cuts and claimed only 1 top-10 finish.
Then, at the Wegman’s Pressel, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2006, came alive and started playing the game. Her mid-tournament interview at the Wegman’s, where she’d end the tournament in a tie for 3rd place, reflected Pressel’s core of fierce determination and competitiveness.
In the events that followed the Wegmans — the NW Arkansas Championship, the US Women’s Open, the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, and the Marathon Classic — Pressel stopped missing cuts and started playing the game and started playing the game she’d had in her bag since she was a teenager.
In 2001 Pressel, then 12 years old, became the youngest player to qualify for the US Women’s Open. (Although she missed the cut, her record stood until 2007, when Lexi Thompson edged her out of the record book by a few months.) She’d had a promising amateur career and when she turned pro and qualified for the LPGA Tour at 18 she was already a rising star.
Pressel won her first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, in 2007, edging out veterans Catriona Matthew, Brittany Lincicome, and Suzann Pettersen. That year she also played her first Solheim Cup. In 2008 Pressel passed the $2 million mark in earnings, and in 2009 she compiled a tournament record that automatically qualified her for her 2nd Solheim Cup.
Pressel played steadily and sturdily through the 2010 and 2011 seasons but after her thumb injury her game deteriorated and she struggled to stay competitive. But the comeback that began with the Wegmans in June was fully completed by the RICOH Women’s British Open last week.
She took control of the tournament in the first round and stayed at or near the top of the board for 72 holes. Pain-free, Pressel played golf like a lynx on the prowl and when the cards were signed and everybody was in the clubhouse Pressel had finished the British Open in a tie for 4th place and had jumped from 51st to 41st in the Rolex Rankings.
That was just enough to get her a spot on the 2013 Team USA! What a comeback!