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Pressel Is Good for the Game

By: Jay Flemma


Editor's Note: Associate Editor Jay Flemma weighs in on Morgan Pressel's remarkable win in the Kraft Nabisco Championship last Sunday.

Make no mistake: If Michelle Wie had won the Kraft Nabisco this week, we would never have heard the end of it. All the talk about "Lady Tiger" and "making history" and "one of the 100 most important people who shape our world" would have been resurrected and we'd be swimming in hullabaloo, hyperbole and ham-fisted hero worship. But spunky, affable, respectful Morgan Pressel wins and, instead, we have sanity. In fact, Morgan is getting a lot LESS press and respect than she deserves.

Here's a woman who got completely jobbed at the 2005 Women's U.S. Open. You could give Birdie Kim 500 balls and she'd never knock that bunker shot in again. You could let Kim play four consecutive days at Cherry Hills every week for 10 years and she'd never post an aggregate like she did that one week.

I can still see Morgan out there in the fairway with that look of utter incredulity and both hands on the top of her head to keep it from splitting open from the force of that "You gotta be kidding me" which blindsided her. As for Birdie Kim, she's in the "Where are they now?" file with Michael Campbell, Lou Graham, Hubert Green and Scott Simpson.

After that and other harrowing defeats as an amateur, what did Morgan do? She "cowboyed up" and won the 2005 Women's Amateur - something Michelle Wie never did . . . and never will because she ran and hid from that competition to chase the fast buck and the will-o-the-wisp. By the way, a 14-year-old won last year and we didn't hear word one about "youngest ever." Why? She isn't on some gender bender, that's why.

News Flash, People

Everyone LOVES Morgan Pressel. Serious golf writers love her game and her attitude. Fans love her fire. Between her and Paula Creamer, the LPGA has enough lightning to last a generation . . . and they're just the tip of the iceberg. Women's golf is poised to EXPLODE with spunky players with gem-hard game that will resonate with the men. Who needs women vs. men when the ladies' tour is this compelling?

Moreover, when Pressel loses, she loses like a true competitor . . . she hates it and goes and does something about it. She doesn't make excuses. Michelle? It's the dew point, her hair spray, locusts, orange golf balls, sun in her eyes, homework, mean people, flat soda, overly tight scrunchies, her caddie, her daddy, St. Paddy, something fatty, anything but her. You'll never hear Morgan Pressel say, "It didn't feel like I shot 78."

You know what? The LPGA is doing just fine without Michelle Wie. People LOVE watching gritty competitors like Creamer, Pressel and Natalie Gulbis. Annika Sorenstam is still a major factor and a great draw. The Tour has all the star power it needs without a disconnected prima donna and her entourage running around a golf course like they're VIPs backstage at a Fall Out Boy concert.

But all the media - who don't really know as much about golf as they think they do - care about is being "socially progressive." They'll only support the girl who wants to break down barriers and hard-sell, no, STUFF, Wie down our throats and be damned the reality of the situation.

Golf is NOT about social progress. You want social progress? Go abroad and help some impoverished nation. That's social progress. When you equate social progress with a woman playing golf as well as a man, you make a mockery of all the terrible struggles of people less fortunate than ourselves. Go to some Banana Republic in South America where people are dying for freedom of speech and wondering how they'll feed their kids or get vaccines for disease and show them Michelle Wie for a role model and see how far that gets you!

Golf is a sport . . . a pastime . . . one that promotes camaraderie, not placing one group above another. You think anyone is buying that Michelle is soooooooooo socially important because of how "resolutely" she lines up three-foot putts? You think Wie is some sort of savior of women's rights because she "boldly" plays a sport? Go sell crazy somewhere else, we're not in the market and it doesn't sell at all.

But the media will continue to ignore that. Morgan doesn't have to worry, though. The media may tout Wie, but Pressel's trophies say something different.

So there it is. Michelle talks the talk but Morgan walks the walk. So media, you know what? You can have Michelle. I'll take Morgan every time. As one of my curmudgeonly colleagues says, you keep your cottage cheese, 'cause I like pudding.

Since launching his first golf writing website in 2004, http://www.jayflemma.thegolfspace.com, Jay Flemma's comparative analysis of golf designs and knowledge of golf course architecture and golf travel have garnered wide industry respect. In researching his book on America's great public golf courses (and whether they're worth the money), Jay, an associate editor of Cybergolf, has played over 220 nationally ranked public golf courses in 37 different states. Jay has played about 1,649,000 yards of golf - or roughly 938 miles. His pieces on travel and architecture appear in Golf Observer (www.golfobserver.com), Cybergolf and other print magazines. When not researching golf courses for design, value and excitement, Jay is an entertainment, copyright, Internet and trademark lawyer and an Entertainment and Internet Law professor in Manhattan. His clients have been nominated for Grammy and Emmy awards, won a Sundance Film Festival Best Director award, performed on stage and screen, and designed pop art for museums and collectors. Jay lives in Forest Hills, N.Y., and is fiercely loyal to his alma maters, Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and Trinity College in Connecticut.