LPGA Takeaway: Lexi Thompson On Why She's Aiming for Olympics Over a Major in 2016
Each week, GOLF.com will be featuring a player on the LPGA Tour as part of an initiative to provide more coverage of the women's pro golf circuit. We're proud to kick off this series with Lexi Thompson, a major champion and one of the faces of women's golf. Presenting the LPGA Takeaway: Inside the Ladies Tour.
Lexi Thompson is one of the LPGA Tour's most dominant stars. Having made her first professional debut at the age of 15, Thompson became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history by claiming the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic as a 16-year-old. She has been a force on Tour ever since, capturing her first major win in 2014 and participating on the winning U.S. Women's Solheim Cup team in 2015.
Interview by Jessica Marksbury.
Let’s recap last year, one of your most successful on Tour. You earned over $1.7 million and won twice. How would you assess your 2015 season?
Last year was a great year for me, definitely one of my best. It started off a little shaky but then I just stayed patient out on the golf course and got some good finishes, got two wins under my belt, and you know, having a win at Solheim Cup… representing my country was a huge honor also.
Justin Thomas made news recently saying he’d rather win a Ryder Cup than a major. You’ve done both, so which would you choose?
Yeah that’s tough. But I mean, I would say a Solheim Cup win. Representing your country, waking up with red, white and blue on, there’s nothing like it. It’s the highest honor you can ever have. To get that win for your team, for your country, it’s an amazing feeling.
Unlike the men, the women have an official off-season. What have you been up to?
We have about two months off, and I’ve actually just been doing nothing. [Laughs] I didn’t feel like going anywhere or taking a vacation. I just spent time with my family at home and spent the holidays with my loved ones, and that’s all I really wanted.
What areas of your game have you been working on for the upcoming 2016 season?
Yeah, we start up a few weeks in the Bahamas. In the off-season I’ve just been focused on keeping my swing in groove like it was last year, and working on my short game a lot. I’ve been practicing my putting very often and chipping has been huge. Hopefully I’ll see the improvements this year.
Golf returning to the Olympics, I know, is a huge priority for you. It seems like some of the PGA Tour players are a bit indifferent to participating, but what would a gold medal mean for you?
That’d mean the world to me. Being in the Olympics is my number one goal going into this year. Anytime I can represent my country in a team event, that’s my number one goal. And just to be able to say that you’re an Olympian, it’s a huge honor. Hopefully I’ll be there in Rio, but there’s a lot of golf to be played before the teams are picked so, we’ll see.
This has been a big few weeks for you - you made your debut in GOLF.com’s Most Beautiful Women in Golf! What has the fan reaction been?
Oh, the fan reaction has been amazing. Just reading all the comments on Instagram and Twitter, everybody loves the shoot. That means a lot to me. It’s a huge honor to be on GOLF.com and under that title. I play golf for a living, but to do photoshoots like that, it’s a lot of fun.
Speaking of dressing up, I know you have a big event coming up - your 21st birthday! What are your plans for the big day?
I don’t really know yet! I’m turning 21 on February 10th, so that’s a huge birthday for me. I’m just gonna go out with my friends and have a huge dinner on my birthday. It falls on a Wednesday, so it’s not quite the partying day [laughs], but just going to have a good time. I’m looking forward to it, and just having some fun with some friends.