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September 2012

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Alexis 'Lexi' Thompson Interview: An American Wunderkind

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Lexi Thompson

Seventeen-year-old professional golfer Alexis “Lexi” Thompson will be in Prattville, Alabama, September 20-23, 2012, playing in the Navistar LPGA Classic to defend her title as winner of last year’s tournament. At sixteen years and seven months old, Thompson set a new record as the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA event. Three months later, she became the youngest winner of a Ladies European Tour event, capturing the Dubai Ladies Masters on December 17, 2011, winning by four strokes.

“Natalie Gulbis has always been there for me since I turned pro. She just says she is there for me if I have any questions or anything. That means a lot coming from someone who has been out there for several years.”

Thompson turned pro on June 16, 2010, signing sponsorship deals with Cobra-PUMA Golf and Red Bull. The Florida native has two brothers, Nicholas and Curtis, who are also golfers.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Lexi, last year you won the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama, at sixteen years old. What are your feelings on the win?

Lexi Thompson: It felt great. I qualified for it at fourteen. The course sets up really great for my game, and I get to hit a lot of drivers to take advantage of the distance. It brings back so many memories being back in Prattville.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What hole was the most difficult?

Lexi Thompson: I don’t really want to think about the hole that gives me the most trouble (laughs). Number eighteen brings back the best memories. I can tell you that (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What aspects of your game have you been working on to prepare yourself for tournament play?

Lexi Thompson: I’ve been working on my short game a lot more. I’m just focusing on that so if I do have a bad ball-striking day, I can manage to still get a decent score out of it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Take me through one of your average days.

Lexi Thompson: Usually, I wake up around seven thirty or eight. I go out and practice for a few hours, eat lunch, and then go out and play eighteen or more in the afternoon. Then, I work out and after that have the rest of the night to just relax and hang out with my friends and family.

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson (Photo by Marc Parker)

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did it feel to be nominated for a 2012 ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Award?

Lexi Thompson: It felt amazing! I was actually playing in a practice round at the time at the Walmart NW Arkansas event when I got the word saying I was a nominee. Just to be a part of that group – Coach “K,” Mariano Rivera and Drew Brees. It was great to be there. I had not met any of them before that night.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Stacy Lewis won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in April of this year, finishing seventeen under. You finished one shot back at sixteen under and were hot on her heels!

Lexi Thompson: Yeah (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you two friends?

Lexi Thompson: Yeah, I know her. Now that I’m on the tour, we’ve played a lot of rounds together.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You and Stacy are both from Florida.

Lexi Thompson: She lives more up in West Palm, and I live down in Coral Springs, so I haven’t played much golf with her down there.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is it hard to make friends on the LPGA Tour when everyone is so busy?

Lexi Thompson: Well, you have time because pretty much every night after our rounds, we’re just regular people and are just hanging out. A few of the junior girls are actually starting to get on the tour, too.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you know ten-year-old golfer Latanna Stone?

Lexi Thompson: I haven’t met her, but she has tweeted me a few times, so I talk to her on Twitter.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is she asking you for advice?

Lexi Thompson: I don’t think she has asked for any advice. I think she commented on one of my photos, and I just responded back to her. I congratulated her on what she has done, obviously.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was there one particular golfer who helped you in the beginning?

Lexi Thompson: Natalie Gulbis has always been there for me since I turned pro. She just says she is there for me if I have any questions or anything. That means a lot coming from someone who has been out there for several years.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What were your two favorite sports in the 2012 Summer Olympics?

Lexi Thompson: I watched gymnastics and swimming the most and Gabby Douglas and Missy Franklin. Being a young athlete, I know how hard they work. It was amazing to watch Michael Phelps winning all those gold medals. He’s cool to watch.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Would you be interested in qualifying for the 2016 Olympics?

Lexi Thompson: Oh, yes, definitely. That’s my next goal for the next four years, to work up to being on the first golf Olympics team.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you know what the qualifications are?

Lexi Thompson: Not really. They’ll obviously use rankings to pick the teams. I just want to keep finishing well in the top ten and maybe have some wins in the next fur years. That would be nice. There is nothing like representing your country.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is your brother still on the PGA Tour?

Lexi Thompson: Nick is on the Nationwide Tour. He has gotten a few top tens and is still working to get his card on the PGA Tour. My other brother is on the LSU golf team.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Lexi, do you interact with your fans on Facebook?

Lexi Thompson: I have a Facebook fan page. Pretty much everything goes to my Twitter and fan page. I keep in contact with my fans.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What’s the most common question from fans?

Lexi Thompson: What tournament are you playing in next? What advice would you give to me about struggling with this or that in my game? I’ll give them advice and help them as much as I can.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are your parents traveling with you on tour?

Lexi Thompson: My mom has been traveling with me lately since my dad has been caddying for my brother on the Nationwide Tour.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have a new caddy?

Lexi Thompson: I’ve had a new caddy since the early part of this year. His name is Greg Johnston, and he has caddied for Lorena Ochoa, Juli Inkster and Michelle Wie.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You will be turning eighteen in February. Do you have a driver’s license?

Lexi Thompson: Yes (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How will you celebrate that special day?

Lexi Thompson: I’m not sure yet. I’ve got to celebrate with my friends. I’m usually in Australia for my birthday. I’ve been there for the last few years. But, yeah, I’ll celebrate over there, and when I get back, I’ll party with family and friends.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you still being homeschooled?

Lexi Thompson: I just graduated a couple of months ago. I doubled up on my classes last year and finished a year early.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will you be attending college?

Lexi Thompson: I haven’t really thought about it. Right now, I’m just focusing on golf pretty much a hundred percent. College will always be there.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are your fun activities off the Tour?

Lexi Thompson: I like hanging out with my friends, going to the beach, watching ice hockey games when in season, and I’m a big bowler. I love movies and just relaxing.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do your friends ever bug you about giving them golf lessons?

Lexi Thompson: Actually, a good amount of my friends are golfers. I’ve played junior golf with them, so they never ask me that. We don’t really talk that much about golf when we’re together. We just like to get our minds off of that for a while.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What’s on your iPod right now?

Lexi Thompson: I listen to hip-hop, rap, some R&B, a little rock like Linkin Park and Blink-182. I’m not much of a country music fan, but my brothers love it, so I listen to it with them.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Good luck in the upcoming Prattville Navistar LPGA Classic in September.

Lexi Thompson: Thank you.

Photo Credits: Front slider photo by Marc Parker

© 2012 Smashing Interviews Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.

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