Lexi Thompson shrugs off grief and remains a female PGA fan favorite

Placeholder whereas loading article actions

Lexi Thompson sunk a birdie’s punch on her final gap on the US Ladies’s Open this month, walked to the scoring facility subsequent to the 18th inexperienced at Pine Needles Golf Membership in South Pines, North Carolina, and obtained her agonizing replace. She was getting ready.

Her ailing grandmother Mimi handed away earlier that day, however Thompson’s group withheld the data till she arrived in a location that supplied a minimum of a little bit of privateness. When she was instructed, Thompson started to cry, although she had come to phrases with the inevitable as she sat by the mattress throughout her beloved grandmother’s final days.

After an prolonged emotional launch and loads of sympathy from these near her, the world’s sixth-ranked participant went overseas to satisfy each autograph request and take dozens of pictures.

Brooks Koepka is alleged to be the most recent PGA star to go away for LIV Golf

“It was actually arduous, however I do know she needs me to kill him,” Thompson, 27, stated Tuesday on the Congress Nation Membership in Bethesda, the positioning of this week’s PGA Ladies’s Championship. “You will need to give again to the followers. I imply, they’ve taken the time of their lives to assist me, good or unhealthy. The least I can do is give them a few of my time.”

In a number of instances, Thompson choked down on tears earlier than talking with younger followers comfortable to spend a number of seconds in her firm. Nonetheless, she continued to press, unwilling to deprive the star women of their second with a {golfing} function mannequin who would maybe change into probably the most well-known face of her era within the girls’s recreation.

Her supporters did not care that Thompson scored a 5-over-76 within the final spherical or that she ended up in a draw for twentieth in her quest to win her first US Ladies’s Open title. What was necessary was that Thompson, unhappy on the within, nonetheless gave herself up regardless of the circumstances.

“She’s a tremendous participant however a way more particular particular person,” stated PGA Tour commissioner Molly Marco Semaan. “She’s nice with the ladies and the followers who come to observe her, and she or he’s only a nice actress. I really like watching her play as a result of she’s only a killer athlete, however when the private aspect, it makes it even higher.”

‘This stings’: Will Zalatoris preserve his religion after his final shut name

The demand for Thompson’s consideration in Congress, the place the 11-time favourite was a third-place favourite on the ladies’s golf calendar, was a lot the identical after wrapping up her morning engagement on the blue course.

Thompson paused to signal and take pictures with kids and adults alike by the membership, thanking each volunteer accompanying her group and thanking claps and phrases of encouragement nearly wherever she went.

The hunt for Thompson’s first victory within the Ladies’s PGA Championship begins Thursday with a time of 1:23 p.m. within the first skilled main match to be contested within the metropolitan space because the 2011 US Open. It additionally marks the primary girls’s main in Congress.

Thompson is chasing her second win at a significant match and her first since 2014, when she bested Michelle Wee West by three pictures on the Craft Nabisco Championships at Mission Hills Nation Membership in Rancho Mirage, California.

“Lexi, you do not want a final title, do you?” She’s the one one who most likely does not want a household title. Everybody is aware of who she is,” stated Stacey Lewis, two-time predominant champion and 2023 US Cup captain Solheim who completed third behind Thompson at Kraft Nabisco in 2014.

Thompson ranks first in Solheim Cup factors, making it a digital lock-up for the sixth consecutive look and including to a adorned worldwide résumé that features representing america on the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Subsequent yr’s Solheim Cup is scheduled to happen in Andalusia, Spain.

Thompson initially gained fame in golf circles in 2011 by being the youngest participant in historical past to win an LPGA Tour occasion, posting three consecutive rounds within the Sixties on his approach to successful the five-stroke LPGA Traditional at Senator Course in Prattville, Ala.

She was solely 16 years, 7 months and eight days outdated, which has been a New Zealand report for Lydia Koe ever since.

Just lately, Thompson has plunged right into a relative stoop, having final gained the 2019 ShopRite Traditional. It is the longest dry spell of her profession. Nonetheless, her recreation remains to be genuine, a minimum of statistically talking, which supplies Thompson, as she put it, with little cause to panic.

She ranked first within the Greens in regulation (76.5 %), third in strokes earned (2.26 per spherical) and sixth in driving distance (274.68 yards). I additionally got here out of a tie for fifth on the LPGA Traditional final week, shedding in a three-way playoff by two strokes.

“The best way she performs and her capability to hit the golf ball itself is completely wonderful,” Lewis stated. “You watch her stroll round and the best way she treats the followers and the younger children, , it is one thing I feel a variety of younger gamers can be taught lots from.”