Thompson Raring to Lead Team USA at Gleneagles
Solheim Cup vet relishes chance to play on same side as American rivals
At 24, Lexi Thompson is getting ready to play in what will already be her fourth Solheim Cup—yet another measure of how consistent she has been since turning pro at 15 and earning her LPGA membership at 17. In all, Thompson has won 11 LPGA events and has finished in the top 10 of the Rolex World Rankings every season since 2013. The six-footer from Coral Springs, Florida, grew up in a golfing family—older brothers Nicolas and Curtis play on the Korn Ferry Tour—and enters the Cup matches at No. 3 in the world, the highest ranking of any player on the American side.
Before the competition began Sept. 13 at Gleneagles Golf Resort in Scotland, Thompson answered questions about team bonding, her future as a caddie, and the rivalry she has with her siblings. Her responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
At this pace you could set the record for most Solheim Cup appearances (the record is 12 by Laura Davies). Is that a goal or is winning more important?
Lexi Thompson: I can’t say “most Solheim Cup teams” has ever been a goal of mine, but it’s always my goal to be on the Solheim Cup team and to represent my country. But as for my goal, I would say winning is probably more my goal.
Golf is such an individual sport, so does a week like this, where you’re part of a team and you’re all camped out together, make it more fun? Is it a nice break or difficult to adjust to?
LT: I really enjoy it. I think all of us do. We don’t interact that much in this type of atmosphere, so to get the opportunity to become closer as friends and as teammates, there’s nothing like it. We have team dinners every night, play practice rounds together, and just have a good time learning each other’s personalities and games. We learn a lot about each other that we never thought we would know.
At our regular events, we are out there to beat each other. There’s only so far bonding will go because it is so competitive, so these opportunities—the International Crown and Solheim Cup—are great.
When you play with your brothers, who usually wins and does anyone get shots?
LT: [Laughs] So, I get to move up one tee. At Trump International, which is our home course, I play 6,800 yards; they play 7,200, 7,300 yards. No shots, I play them straight up, but it’s a good mix-up of who wins. Curtis can go really low, so he wins a good amount, but there’s nobody who wins more than anybody else.
If for some reason you couldn’t play this week but had the chance to caddie for another player on the team, who would it be and why?
LT: Honestly, I would choose past players, like Juli [Inkster]. I don’t know if I could be a caddie, but I’d like to be a ghost to hear what was going on, to hear their thought process and how they went about shots. I think that would be pretty cool. Not any specific players but Hall of Famers that have gone through everything.
How often have you played in Scotland and are you planning to play other courses while you’re over there?
LT: I have been to Scotland once or twice, so not too many times. But I have heard only great things about Gleneagles, so I’m really looking forward to being at that resort. I heard it is beautiful there, but also I heard the golf course is one of the best, so I am really looking forward to playing there. I probably won’t have much time to do much else—you know, with the dinners we have, the media and everything—but I’ll enjoy Scotland as much as I can.
Photo credit: Courtesy Steve Brown Creative