SYLVANIA, Ohio – Morgan Pressel travels all over the world competing in LPGA tournaments.
But Michigan is where the 21-year-old golfer feels most at home.
This week Pressel is competing in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic at the Highland Meadows Golf Club. It’s the closest the tour comes to her family home in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan.
“I’m just so comfortable here, with my connections to the Detroit area,” Pressel said, who placed second overall on the pro tour in 2007 and 2009. “It’s just nice to feel like I’m close to home, and I think that’s part of the reason why I’ve played so well here.”
Her grandfather, Dr. Herb Krickstein, spent 37 years as the director of labs at St. John Hospital in Detroit. Pressel spent every summer with him and the rest of her family, including her uncle, Aaron Krickstein, who set – and still holds – the pro tennis record being the youngest player ever to win a singles title on the ATP Tour.
“I played golf all over the area, it’s almost where I learned to play,” Pressel said, who holds the record for being the youngest player to win a major. “I played a lot of PowerBuilt Junior Tour events all through Michigan as a junior (golfer) over the summers, and it’s really where I got my footing in the game.”
During her stays in Michigan, Pressel golfed mostly at Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods. It holds fond memories for her — especially because it’s where she played with her favorite Red Wings’ player.
Pressel is an avid supporter of Detroit sports, especially the Wings. She loves everything about hockey, from the competitiveness to the physical play. So the chance to golf with Kirk Maltby was, as she says, “such a thrill.”
“I played at Lochmoor Club, and he was a member there,” Pressel said. “And this was when I was 12 or 13, and I got to play a couple rounds of golf with him, and that was so much fun. ... I thought it was the coolest thing ever.”
Her other favorite player growing up was Steve Yzerman, who invited Pressel to golf with him at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township. Unfortunately, their busy schedules never allowed them to play together.
Pressel says she can actually learn a lot about golf from hockey players.
“I love watching hockey players play golf,” she said, “Because their move through the ball with the strong left leg — just like the hockey slapshot — they just hit it so far. And it’s what I’m trying to work on in my golf swing, so I’m like, ‘That would be the best way to fix my golf swing, is to go hit a few slapshots and work on that solid left leg.’”
There’s just one problem. Pressel can’t skate.
“That’s embarrassing, I know,” she laughed.
Former Michigan State University hockey standout David Booth, now a left wing with the Florida Panthers, is also a friend of Pressel’s. He offered to teach her how to skate, but they never made it to the rink.
“As an athlete who works so hard on their balance in the gym and everywhere else, I am totally uncoordinated on ice skates,” Pressel said. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”
For now, she’s content with simply watching whenever she has time. She flew to Detroit in 2009 to watch Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Wings general manager Ken Holland, who she met in 2007 at this very tournament, told her she may have to make another trip this upcoming season.
“I might have to come up this winter,” she said. “(The Wings) are just so much fun to watch.”