Lexi Thompson Makes Golf History, Again
By Torleif Sorenson on 9/19/11
Torleif Sorenson was so moved by Lexi Thompson's performance Sunday at the Navistar LPGA Classic he felt the need to write about it. And as a policy, we at oob don't turn down free content, especially when it's good free content. Enjoy!

Alexis "Lexi" Thompson has rewritten the golf record book -- again, this time by winning the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic Sunday afternoon at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Capitol Hill Golf Course in Prattville, Alabama. At age 16, Thompson has become the youngest-ever player to win an LPGA event – and has done so without actually having LPGA membership, although she turned professional fifteen months ago.

She won this tournament by five shots over her nearest competitor, fellow American Tiffany Joh (remember her wacky music video?), and put an exclamation point on her effort by recovering from bogeys at 11 and 12 with a near-ace at 16, another birdie at 17, and a near-birdie at the closing hole. This followed rounds of 66, 68, and 67 that were marred only by one bogey in each round.

Thompson has a long record of playing “ahead of the curve”; at age 12, she was the youngest-ever golfer to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open when the 2007 championship was played at Pine Needles in North Carolina.

The LPGA currently requires that members be at least 18 years old, but they have granted Thompson’s petition to enter the 2011 LPGA qualifying tournament, which will be played November 30 through December 4 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach FL. Thompson actually won Stage 1 by ten shots (66-66-66-67=265, -23) in July, but now that Thompson has actually won an LPGA tour event, critical eyes will now turn on the LPGA to see whether they actually make Thompson go through further qualifying.

Given Thompson’s remarkable career (she won the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Hartford GC) and her LPGA first victory, it seems ridiculous for the LPGA to drag this out another year-and-a-half. The Nationwide Tour has had a few players earn “battlefield promotions” to the PGA Tour; in this writer’s opinion, it is time for the LPGA to admit the obvious and give Thompson her card. Stupidly, to this point LPGA commissioner Michael Whan is still sticking to his story that Thompson STILL must play through stages II and III to qualify for LPGA membership. (The “dork meter” is officially “pegged.”)

Lexi Thompson has, in a relatively short period of time, reflected great credit upon herself, upon girls’ junior golf, and on the game itself. It is now time for the LPGA to recognize this. Give her the card, already!



This was written by Torleif Sorenson, a reader/follower/course editor/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

photo via LexiThompson.com


[ comments ]
oobscott2 says:
it will be an absolute joke if the LPGA makes her finish Q school to get her card. If Michael Whan makes her finish Q school, I bet he loses his job within 2 months.
I bet most Q school qualifers never even make a top 5 in a tour event, let alone win one
9/19/11
 
srogers13 says:
I went out to the tourney on Friday, and then watched on Saturday, and have played the course they played on over 100 times, and she was taking very aggressive lines that none of the other women were taking. The course as a lot of dogleg blind shots with at least 230 yd carries to cut the corners, and no one else there were trying them. Really, no one else could touch what she was doing this week. Plus she was basically hitting every GIR.
9/19/11
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
It is worth remembering that So Yeon Ryu also has not yet been welcomed to the LPGA if she wants, even though she won the U.S. Women's Open at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs two months ago -- in a playoff, no less!

If a guy hasn't yet earned his PGA Tour card and he wins an in-season PGA Tour event, he automatically earns a two-year exemption. Same thing if a non-PGA Tour member wins one of the four men's majors.

How horrifically ironic that in golf, the proverbial "glass ceiling" still exists on the LPGA tour.
9/19/11
 
bkuehn1952 says:
The LPGA has a bit of a problem: too many eligible players and insufficient tournaments. A player who fights their way through Q School or places in the Futures Tour money top 10 still has a problem playing a full schedule. For example, Tiffany Joh was a 2010 Top 10 Futures Tour alumna. Of 17 tournaments to date she has only managed to get into 10.

Rewriting the rules after the fact might seem like the right thing to do. A women who fought her way through Q School or the Futures Tour, however, only to lose her spot in a tournament because the rules were re-written might not see it the same way.

Alexis should kick butt in stages II & III and force her way on to the LPGA Tour. Why ask for an exception if one has the power to qualify following the rules, flawed or not.
9/19/11
 
oobscott2 says:
@bkuehn1952: all-be-it highly unlikely, what if she fails to make it through stage 2 and 3 (everyone has bad days)? Also, what about the fact that she now has to spend that time at Q school instead of other tournaments where should could be making money? If I was her, this situation would really piss me off
9/19/11
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@oobscot: If she were to fail to qualify, which we both agree is unlikely, she could always ask for the rules to be re-written. Rather than resort to lawyers and handlers, however, the best way for her to become an LPGA member is through normal qualifying at this point.

There are no tournaments scheduled for either Stage II (9-27 to 9-30) or Stage III (11-30 to 12-4). What better way to prepare for a season on the LPGA than to play in a tournament with a lot riding on the outcome?

Certainly after the dust clears, the LPGA should look at their eligibility rules. It seems like anyone good enough to win an LPGA tournament (or US Open) should be offered immediate membership.
9/19/11
 
mjaber says:
I don't know why, but I'm starting to see the makings of a Phil/Tiger story on the LPGA tour once Lexi gains full membership. I can already see the comparisons of Lexi/Michelle Wie to Tiger/Phil. Lexi = Tiger, with a singular focus on playing and winning golf tournaments. Michelle = Phil, with a drive to win, but also a desire to be known as more than just a great golfer.
9/19/11
 
falcon50driver says:
So, what you're saying is, She could be the next tiger woods?
9/19/11
 
mmontisano says:
@oobscott2: Stacy Lewis won Q-School and she has 10 top tens out of 17 starts and bagged a major this year. so you're statement is more than a little off.

BUT, i do agree that if you win, you're in. it's going to be the Yanni/Lexi show starting next year.
9/20/11
 
mjaber says:
@merlin... I guess, yeah, that's what I'm saying.
9/20/11
 
oobscott2 says:
well i didnt realize that the LPGA didnt have any tournaments that week
most players seem to think that Q school isnt exactly fun however. If i was Lexi, I would hire a damn good lawyer to see if I could get out of it
9/20/11
 
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