Back in 2007, 12-year-old Lexi Thompson qualified to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles. At the time, Thompson was the youngest participant in the event’s history (11-year-old ice cream aficionado Lucy Li played in 2014.)
In the eight years that have followed her appearance at Pine Needles, Thompson has not only become one of the strongest players on the LPGA Tour (currently ranked eighth in the Rolex Rankings) but one of the most popular as well.
With five career victories under her belt – including her first major win and leap into Poppie’s Pond last year at the Kraft Nabisco – and 27 top-10 finishes, Thompson is nearing $4 million in career earnings. She won the Meijer LPGA Classic last month in Michigan.
I recently caught up with Lexi to ask her about the season so far, winning that first major, her influences, the Rio Olympics and what’s tunes she’s jamming out to these days.
JL: You have been playing some solid golf lately with some strong finishes. How are you feeling about your game right now? What are you working on?
LT: Thank you. I feel good about my game right now. I’ve been working really hard on all parts of my game, but I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my short game, and in particular pitching and chipping.
JL: How important was it for you to get that first major championship under your belt so early in your career? Has it changed your outlook or expectations at all?
LT: It was a huge step to get my first major. I love the course at Mission Hills and always felt it suited my game. It really has not changed my expectations at all. I always go into a season with the goal of winning as many tournaments as I can, and to perform as consistently and well as I can.
JL: What music are you listening to these days?
LT: I listen to all types of music, but one of my current favorite artists is The Weeknd.
JL: If you could have one round to do over in your career, which would it be?
LT: I wouldn’t want to do any round over again. I learn from every round of golf and I have learned the most from my disappointing rounds.
JL: Who are your idols in the game?
LT: My idols in the game are my two brothers, Nick and Curtis, and also Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa.
JL: With the Olympics approaching, what would it mean for you to compete for your country?
LT: It would be a huge honor to get to play for the USA in the Olympics. There would be no greater honor than to put on the Red, White and Blue and go out there and represent your country.
JL: The LPGA is riding a tremendous wave of popularity and momentum. Why?
LT: The LPGA now has so many great players from all over the world that we are getting global coverage and Commissioner (Michael) Whan has done a great job of increasing the number of new events.
JL: How much pressure do you place upon yourself to succeed and how do you handle the grind of Tour life?
LT: There is always pressure to succeed. When you work as hard as we do, you definitely want to see results. I handle the pressure by trying to get away from it when I am not playing. I hang out with my family, go to the beach, and hang out with my friends. I just really enjoy my off time.
JL: Who is filling out your dream foursome?
LT: Right now my dream foursome would be Tiger Woods, Channing Tatum and Justin Timberlake.