Emilia Migliaccio soaking up experience inside the ropes at a Major, but not as a player
Emilia Migliaccio has been walking inside the ropes at this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, watching players hit shots that she knows she has the ability to hit. In April, a little more than two miles down the road, Migliacco was runner-up at the prestigious Augusta National Women’s Amateur, losing in a playoff to Japan’s Tsubasa Kajitani.
The recent Wake Forest grad is here this week working as a freelance writer for GolfChannel.com, and loving the assignment as she thinks about story ideas and makes them come to life on her laptop keyboard. One day this week she wrote about Danielle Kang, who writes out her swing thoughts on her hands and arms. On Thursday, she wrote about first-round leader Lizette Salas and her recent struggles with anxiety.
“The pressure of high goals and trying to perform at your peak,” Migliaccio said, “a lot of athletes are talking about that. I didn’t write her story to exploit the subject. I really wanted to honor the story. I worked hard at that.”
Migliaccio is ranked 16th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and has been one of the country’s top juniors and college competitors for a few years. She has a great history with the PGA of America. She competed in the PGA Girls Junior and made the victorious U.S. side in the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup. She won’t soon forget playing an exhibition at Hazeltine prior to the Ryder Cup in front of 3,000 fans. She had finished sixth in that year’s PGA Girls Junior Championship at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island, and she and her mom were hanging around when U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Captain Jim Remy summoned her to his office.
“He had trouble pronouncing my last name,” she said, laughing, “but he asked me if I wanted to play in the Junior Ryder Cup. I said I’d love to. It was the first time for me representing my country – a really special moment for me. It’s nice to be here working at a PGA event. The PGA does so much for the game.”
At a college tournament in January, Migliaccio surprised her coach by telling her she wasn’t interested in pursuing professional golf, at least not at this time. She will play in this summer’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, but the competition schedule is light. In August, she will begin a two-year program at Wake Forest to get a Master’s Degree in Communication. It will be the first time she’ll be on campus and not be an active athlete. That will be nice. She will work 20 hours a week as a teacher’s assistant in a Public Speaking class and intern in the athletic department. Migliaccio knows this: Her future will have something to do with golf.
“Now that I’ve taken myself out of playing on a competitive basis every day, I can appreciate all that I’ve done,” she said. “I was a three-time All- American and I played in four Arnold Palmer Cups. I have friends who dream about those things. I’m open to exploring what I want to do. I know I want to stay in the golf industry. I want everybody to know how incredible this sport is.”