ARDMORE, PA – Emilia Migliaccio has enjoyed being a NARP.
For those not in the know, that acronym stands for non-athletic regular person and for the past 12 months now, the winner of five collegiate golf titles has been doing yoga, re-reading the Harry Potter series and traveling with her fiancé in her spare time and grinding on her master’s thesis on the impact of self-talk on player performance and grading papers as a teacher’s assistant. In other words, being a 23-year-old Wake Forest University graduate student.
What she isn’t doing is what everyone expected from her – namely chasing trophies and riches as a professional golfer. But during this past year of exploration and self-discovery, she also came to an important realization – she still loved competitive golf and in June she’ll scratch that itch by competing in her second straight Curtis Cup when Team USA attempts to retain the trophy on home soil at Merion Golf Club.
“I love being part of a team, love college golf, love team events, so have a new appreciation of amateur golf on a whole new level,” she said during Curtis Cup media day. “I also learned that being part of the Curtis Cup exempts you into the US Amateur for four years. I’m super-excited about that.”
Emilia Migliaccio talks with her mom/caddie on the second hole during the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur at Augusta National Golf Club on April 03, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Migliaccio, who lost in a playoff at the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur and played in the event for a third straight time in April, has once again been designated the US side’s “Team Mom,” a role she relishes. “It’s so sweet that they all call me that,” she said. “I do try to make sure everyone is included and cared for, and I’m really committed to making everyone feel welcome.”
That welcome extends to a return to the Wake Forest University women’s golf team for the 2022-23 season to take advantage of a fifth year of eligibility under the NCAA’s Covid waiver. (She has signed NIL deals with Bridgestone and Stitch Golf.) It’s further proof that Migliaccio, who is ranked No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, has found a way to enjoy the best of both worlds.
During her senior year, she experienced performance anxiety and did some soul-searching and decided that the dream of being a pro golfer that had consumed her since she was 13 wasn’t really the lifestyle for her. But while learning a new craft as a reporter and on-air talent for the Golf Channel, working on her master’s in communications and spending time with family and recently becoming engaged, she rekindled her love for the game.
“I really love competing and those nervous jitters on the first tee. That was masked when I was stressed from playing all the time,” she explained. “By staying amateur I can still play in some tournaments and get the competitive feeling that I love. I don’t get that stimulation from anything else. Live TV is as close as it gets.”
She’ll get to do her fair share of that. She’ll cover the NCAAs and US Women’s Open for Golf Channel, play in the North-South Women’s Amateur, the Curtis Cup and US Women’s Amateur (and shift to a TV role if she doesn’t advance to match play). It’s her version of the best of both worlds – a normal life while still competing in elite-level amateur competitions.
Asked if she has any regrets about missing out on another ACC women’s title this season – she was part of a conference championship in 2019 for Wake – she smiled and shook her head from side to side.
“Now if they win Nationals this year, I’ll be like we have to win next year,” she said. “I can’t wait to be a student-athlete again. I’m ready to do school and golf and not have to be grading papers too.”
Those days of being a NARP were fun while they lasted.