Pressel's Road to the LPGA
Madison Pressel holds a degree in Finance from the esteemed McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. She needs that knowledge to balance golf and travel expenses during her rookie season on the Symetra Tour.
“I have always been very budget conscious,” Pressel, 22, said. “I’ve got more Excel spreadsheets than the normal golfer. It’s just kind of the way my mind works. It keeps my mind active when I’m not playing golf.”
Pressel is figuring out how to make the LPGA in 2015, to join older sister Morgan. A victory two weeks ago in the Decatur-Forsythe Classic in Illinois jump-started a poor season, one where Pressel now stands 25th in earnings with $17,709. The top 10 earn 2015 LPGA cards.
The road to the biggest stage in women’s golf is fraught with financial decisions, especially for a self-professed financial “nerd.” There’s the traveling (Madison uses her own car), accommodations (she usually stays with host families), entry fees ($500 per week) and whether to hire a caddie (not for Madison, who uses a push cart). A desire for a career in wealth management or real estate finance enlivens the journey.
“It can be very, very expensive,” Pressel said. “If you add up all the entry fees for the season on the Symetra Tour, it totals $10,000. When I won in Decatur, I earned $15,000. So I’m up there, but barely. It’s a great life and I’m so privileged. But you have to know more than just golf to succeed here. Or else there’s too much pressure to perform.”
Living in the shadow of an older sister who has won twice on the LPGA also comes with the territory. Madison’s first professional victory in Illinois allowed her to step into the spotlight for once. With the wind howling at up to 35 mph, Pressel fired a final-round 72 and then holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to capture the title. Morgan was at a rental home in Pinehurst, N.C., preparing for that week’s U.S. Women’s Open. She anxiously texted back and forth with a friend of Madison’s in Illinois.
“She was getting play-by-play texts,” Madison said. “When I won, she freaked out. Morgan called my friend and starting screaming. I couldn’t talk to her for a few minutes.
“I knew how nervous she was. When she won the Kraft (in 2007) at age 18, I was 15 and living at home. I was watching on TV and freaking out the whole time. She knows how hard I’ve worked at this and she’s helped me so much along the way. It was really cool that she was doing the cheering for me.”
With a three-week break in the Symetra Tour schedule until late July, Madison has visited with friends and family in Detroit, will visit her boyfriend in Syracuse, N.Y., and hopes to get back to Sarasota, Fla. She will practice rigorously for the stretch run – especially the short game – and get some hometown treatment on a sore shoulder that was injured in college.
“I’m really looking forward to finishing the season strong,” she said. “Being healthy is a No. 1 goal on the road. And the short game is where you make your money.”
Sounds just like a financial whiz preparing for the next step in her golf career.