Golf

Thompson's LPGA time has arrived

GolfWeek Beth Ann Baldry
Share This Story

   
 

It seems like only yesterday that a 12-year-old Lexi Thompson battled with the big girls at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles. Few could’ve predicted then that four years later, she would win on the LPGA, becoming the youngest in tour history, at 16 years, 7 months and 8 days. Last month, she added a Ladies European Tour title at Dubai.

What’s a girl to do? Join the LPGA, naturally.

Thompson petitioned the tour to join as a 16-year-old (tour rules stipulate players must be 18), and LPGA commissioner Mike Whan approved. As a rookie, Lexi will have more flexibility with her schedule, though it’s difficult for anyone to gather much momentum these days with the tour’s light offerings. Thompson, a homeschooler, hasn’t yet finished her high school education, so there will be homework.

Looking back on 2011, Thompson’s early struggles show how much she progressed mentally. At the season-ending CME Group Titleholders, Thompson said the Wegmans LPGA Championship in June was her low point. She “had the hooks” and missed the cut with rounds of 74-78.

She spent time with instructor Jim McLean, who said Thompson needed to cut down on the number of folks whom she let give her advice.

“When you’re a star,” McLean said, “you get the hangers-on. Everyone has an idea of what she should be doing.”

One thing is certain: Nobody has to tell Thompson when to practice. When it comes to golf, she’s as self-motivated as they come.

That comes in part from watching her older brothers, Nationwide Tour player Nicholas and LSU freshman Curtis.

YOUNG STAR

Teenager Lexi Thompson is the new face of the LPGA. See photos of her career.

Thompson’s expectations are great, but she learned the value of patience last year, and that will prove invaluable in her first full season on tour.

“It is never a chore or a duty,” she said. “I just love going out and practicing.

“Growing up, we always played competitions like chipping, hitting. We still play matches on the course, usually for money now. We play probably 36 holes a day sometimes. It’s fun; I love it.”

For now, Thompson said she will keep her father, Scott, on her bag.

When it comes to big courses, Thompson’s tremendous length – she led the Navistar LPGA Classic field in driving distance en route to her breakthrough victory – gives her a sizable advantage over most of the field. Thompson and McLean spend most of their time on the short game, building her creativity on flop shots, chip shots and bunker play.

Thompson – a youthful, explosive American – brings promise to a tour that is struggling on home soil. This rookie won’t “save” the tour, but she should be great fun to watch.

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



GOLF Videos

Can Tiger Woods recapture British Open magic Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Robert Lusetich looks back at Tiger Woods' past and ahead to his future at the B...

Will Mickelson win the British Open again? Posted: Jul 14, 2014
FOX Sports 1 golf analyst Robert Lusetich discusses Phil Mickelson's chances of ...

Mickelson looks to hit his stride Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Phil Mickelson discusses his up-and-down 2014 season.

Fox Sports Store