LPGA Tour not ready to lower age limit for teens
GLADSTONE (New Jersey): Rising teen stars such as 15-year-old Michelle Wie and US Women's Open runner-up Morgan Pressel will not push the LPGA into changing its minimum age requirement of 18, Tour boss Ty Votaw said.
Speaking here ahead of today's start of the LPGA Match-Play Championship, the women's tour commissioner said appeals for early entry will be considered and judged on a case-by-case basis.
“I don't know how difficult it will be (to deny under-18 players),” he said. “There can be petitions to someone (between) the ages of 15 and 18 to waive that rule.
“There will be a very devout and deliberate process where we take what's in the best interests of the individual and the best interests in the organization to play as to whether or not those petitions, if they come, get granted.”
South Korean standout Aree Song, 19, was given permission for an early entry to the tour in 2003 and began playing at age 17. She finished second at a women's Major, last year's Kraft Nabisco, before her 18th birthday.
Americans Wie and Pressel shared the 54-hole lead at the US Women's Open last week before South Korean Birdie Kim's stunning hole-out from a bunker brought her the victory.
Wie and other teens can receive up to six sponsor exemptions into LPGA events in a season and that has allowed them to gain valuable experience before turning 18.
Paula Creamer, an 18-year-old US rookie, has already captured an LPGA event and was a contender at the Open. She said that she made the right decision by joining the LPGA at 18. – AFP