After petitioning the LPGA to make an exception to their minimum age limit, 16-year-old phenom Lexi Thompson will be given the chance to become a full-fledged Tour player next season…if she passes qualifying school. Golfweek has the breakdown on how Thompson managed to become of the few players to successfully plead her case to the LPGA brass.
LPGA rules state that a player must be at least 18 years old to become a member. Players younger than 18 must get the tour’s approval for membership.
The LPGA has granted membership to 17-year-olds on a very limited basis. Jessica Korda, Morgan Pressel and Aree Song were granted membership at that age, but all turned 18 during their rookie seasons; petitions by eventual major winners Yani Tseng and Inbee Park were denied.
Thompson, 16, doesn’t turn 18 until 2013. She would be the first player to start her rookie year before age 17. Her 17th birthday is Feb. 10, 2012.
This is what exceptions were made for, exceptional golfers, and it sounds like the LPGA understands how important young talent (especially young, American talent) is to the future of women’s golf. Hopefully Thompson can make the most of the opportunity and not push too hard, too early like some of her LPGA counterparts have done in the past. Honorary Player With the news that Gary Player will finally be taking his rightful place alongside Jack and Arnie at the opening of next year’s Masters tournament, Scott Michaux at the Augusta Chronicle talks about the importance of the honorary starters at Augusta National and of reassembling golf’s greatest “Big Three.”
Player is fond of pointing out that exactly one of his 75 years on this Earth was spent playing in the Masters Tournament. His record 52 starts in Augusta is a testament to his personality and work ethic. His three green jackets are reward for his talent.
His invitation to join his Big Three mates Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as an honorary starter on the first tee next April is a fitting tribute to his legacy as the game’s most ardent international ambassador. It is exactly where he should be every April for as long as he’s fit to swing a club (and the smart money is on that being a very, very long time).
“For me, Augusta is holy ground,” Player said. “And I have so much respect for that place and the way it’s run. It’s a very special place.”
Augusta National is special for more than just playing host to the season’s first major championship every year. It is special because champions such as Player and Palmer and Nicklaus and others come back year after year to honor the game and their place in it. Augusta is a living history museum every April and is holy ground for more than just the golfers who play it.
When one of my colleagues interviewed Player earlier this year, I boldly (read: obnoxiously) pressed him to ask Player whether the brass at Augusta National had bothered to offer the three-time green jacket winner the chance to hit an opening drive. Player, refusing to take the bait, responded that the offer had not come in, but, if and when it did, he would be honored to take them up on it. Good on Augusta National for finally making it happen. YouTube Clip of the Day Check out this video of French Pro (and aspiring comedian) Richard Gillot doing his best Colin Montgomerie impression. Parts of it are spot on and it’s pretty clever, but from the sound of the Francophonic guffaws in the background, you would think it was Jerry Lewis hamming it up out there.