LAS VEGAS — Lexi Thompson did not hesitate when knowledgeable that she had been invited to play on this week’s Shriners Kids’s Open, the place she is going to grow to be solely the seventh lady to compete on the PGA Tour.
She had different plans for this weekend after a busy schedule that had included consecutive LPGA Tour occasions following the Solheim Cup, however these shortly received pushed again.
“It was principally an computerized sure,” Thompson stated throughout her pre-tournament information convention Tuesday. “It was form of final minute, final discover. I used to be like, ‘Alright, OK, let’s go.’
“I did not know that it was within the works, however I am very joyful that it was.”
The 28-year-old used the phrase “encourage” 5 occasions Tuesday, and it is a theme Thompson regularly has referenced over the course of her 12-year skilled profession.
The youngest golfer to ever compete within the U.S. Girls’s Open at 12 years previous in 2007, she went on to grow to be the youngest to ever win an LPGA Tour occasion 4 years later.
These information have since been damaged and whereas she will not be the primary lady to compete on the PGA Tour, Thompson will be part of a small and illustrious group at this week’s Shriners Kids’s Open when she tees off at 4:19 ET on Thursday in a gaggle alongside Kevin Roy and Trevor Werbylo.
She was requested how she has remained so resilient throughout a profession that features 11 LPGA Tour wins, a serious title and 6 Solheim Cup staff appearances — but additionally some very high-profile misses at different main tournaments.
“Since I’ve been beneath the microscope since I used to be 12 years previous, simply getting used to it. However actually, simply believing in your self,” she stated. “As a result of what you are able to, and all you must do is consider within the work that you have put in and go on the market and belief the method.
“That is what I’ve executed all through my profession. Turning professional at a younger age was an enormous step, I am doing this … so, actually, you simply must go on the market and do what you like.”
That is why Thompson is embracing the problem this week, regardless of understanding there are some individuals who do not agree with the invitation she was given. She was requested in regards to the feedback made final week by Peter Malnati, who retracted after calling Thompson’s inclusion within the match a “gimmick.”
“I knew some feedback have been going to occur with something,” she stated. “I am out right here taking part in after all with the lads, however I need to go away a message simply to the children that I am following my goals and to go after what you need with a constructive mindset and do not let anyone’s feedback or response get in the best way of that.”
Thompson performed a restricted schedule earlier this yr, acknowledging that she was attempting to take pleasure in her life off of the golf course extra. She has struggled a lot of the yr, making solely 5 cuts in 12 begins on the LPGA Tour.
Nevertheless, she managed to carry onto an computerized spot on the US Solheim Cup staff and stated she discovered one thing key in her swing the week earlier than the occasion. Thompson put collectively a 3-1-0 efficiency in Spain earlier than turning to the U.S., the place she has completed in a tie for eighth and solo fifth the previous two weeks.
Thompson stated she has been hitting a whole lot of golf balls per day to hone within the swing repair, and has loved simply her finest golf of 2023 coming into this week.
She is aware of she’ll want each side of her recreation to be on level. That begins with the driving force, as TPC Summerlin’s par-71 structure measures 7,255 yards. By comparability, this week’s LPGA Tour occasion is being contest on a par-72, 6,672-yard course.
Thompson is having fun with with the ability to swing freely after being restricted in what number of drivers she’s capable of hit on sometimes LPGA Tour layouts.
“You continue to must hit the golf pictures on the LPGA Tour. It is simply I do not get to make the most of generally my size on a number of of these holes,” she stated. “Right here it is driver on each gap, and I positively like that. Hearth away and swing, get probably the most distance I can on a number of of these holes.”
Competing alongside males isn’t new to Thompson, who has performed six occasions within the QBE Shootout, an unofficial tour occasion she is scheduled to play in subsequent month with Rickie Fowler.
However first comes becoming a member of the record of girls who got here earlier than her in competing in an everyday tour occasion: Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley, Michelle Wie West and Brittany Lincicome. Solely Spork made the lower, ending a hundred and fifth on the 1952 Barracuda Championship.
Requested what she would take into account a profitable week in her PGA Tour debut, Thompson stated making the lower would clearly be “on the prime” of her profession achievements and an “superb feeling.” However that is not her essential precedence.
“Sure, good golf is a profitable week. However actually, if I can go away right here inspiring others, and particularly these Shriners youngsters, that is what it is all about,” she stated. “There’s extra than simply taking part in golf. If I can encourage one particular person, I really feel like I am making progress. After all, sure, I need to play good. That an entire ‘nother story, however there’s extra to life than simply performing effectively. That is what I need to do, I need to encourage others.
“We’ll see the place the golf takes me. I will simply take one shot at a time and no matter occurs, it is only a blessing to be right here.”