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Lexi Thompson’s behavior following Women’s PGA defeat sparks fierce debate

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Lexi Thompson has had one hell of a golf career.

At 12 years old, she became the youngest ever woman to take part in the US Women’s Open, and at 16 she became the then youngest ever winner of an LPGA tournament.

With the golfing world at her feet, the star junior player won six events by the end of 2016, including her first major – the Kraft Nabisco in 2014 – and looked set for superstardom.

It hasn’t all gone to plan, though, with the pain continuing into last night’s final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship when, after leading by two shots, she finished with two bogeys and a par to lose by a shot to In Gee Chun, another who had let a lead slip through Sunday’s tense final 18.

Majors have proven a tough gig for 27-year-old Thompson.

Lexi led the 2017 running of the first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration, into the back nine, before being notified of a four-shot penalty for misplacing her ball on the 17th hole of her third round – two shots for putting the ball back in the wrong place, and two for incorrectly signing her scorecard – all via notification from a television viewer.

In tears, the former World Number One fought back to birdie the final hole, finally losing a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the only time Lexi has found things conspire against her at the wrong time.

During the 2021 season, she blew a five-shot lead the down the stretch of the US Women’s Open with a series of errors, whilst in November of the same year, she lost her third playoff of the year when failing to capitalize on yet another lead, this time at the Women’s Pelican Championship.

Shrugging that off by saying she is working on all aspects of the game and feels good, Sunday the 26th of June will surely not be a day she will want to keep in the memory banks.

As mentioned, after In Gee had played nervously throughout the opening holes, Lexi found herself in front going down the stretch and hot favorite to finally lift her overdue second major.

Winning is hard, golf is hard, and it just didn’t happen. Again.

If losing (yes, that’s sadly the right word) wasn’t enough, Lexi was then fined $2000 for slow play after her round.

Lexi, perhaps unsurprisingly, refused to talk to the media after coming off the course and, naturally, social media has had a field day with both instances.

Justin Thomas took to Twitter to plead: “I’m all for helping slow play, but putting those ladies on the clock with 2 holes left trying to win a major seems like a good read the room situation and don’t put them on the clock.”

Zephyr Melton of Golf.com was tweeting the main twists and turns of last night’s final round and noted Lexi’s refusal to speak to the media as “not a good look.”

Whilst he admitted that she did come out and sign hundreds of autographs after, the replies to the initial tweet were many and varied.

The majority called for the media to “give her space”, whilst a good few gave the comparison to Naomi Osaka, the number one tennis player who refused to speak to the media at the French Open before being told she would face expulsion if not doing so.

Back then, Osaka said she had witnessed players breaking down after questioning by the press, and called for prioritizing the player’s mental health.

The question must be, is a player obligated to talk to the media covering an event?

According to one respondent:

It’s called being a professional and facing the music when you choked away a major championship (again, I might add). You owe it to the people who supported you & the entire country! Osaka and her have a lot to be ashamed of. You would never see this happen w/ Billy Jean King!”

While another countered, saying:

“The media overestimates how much people really want to hear what athletes have to say following devastating losses. I’d rather give them their privacy and let them talk after they’ve had time to process.”

Did she choke? Unquestionably.

Does she need to be questioned about it just minutes after doing so, not that long after throwing away a couple of similar chances and answering it all back then?

Leave that to you, GolfWRX readers.

*Photo courtesy of @TheAmyRodgers

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Tour pro calls Anthony Kim a ‘f*****g idiot’ following Instagram comeback post

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In what’s become a staple of his social media game over the past few seasons, DP World Tour player Eddie Pepperell took to X to call a few LIV golfers “f*****g idiots.”

The Englishman was referring to Talor Gooch’s comments regarding a Rory McIlroy potential Masters victory having an asterisk due to certain LIV players not being in the field.

“If Rory McIlroy completes his Grand Slam without some of the best players in the world, there’s just going to be an asterisk,” Gooch said to Australian Golf Digest.

In terms of Pepperell’s “haters” comment, he was referring to Anthony Kim’s Instagram post, where at the end AK says, “Hello Haters. I’m Back”.

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Rory McIlroy gave a very surprising answer when asked about the potential of a future LIV Golf move

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On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy appeared to tease a potential move to LIV Golf while speaking to the media.

Last week, Rory’s former agent Chubby Chandler told Bunkered that he wouldn’t be surprised to see McIlroy go to LIV for somewhere in the $950 million neighborhood.

“If you were being cynical, you might say he’s going to sign for about £750 million [around $950 million] in a month’s time with LIV because he’s paving the way that LIV’s okay now, whereas it wasn’t,” Chandler had said. “Who knows? He doesn’t need £750 million but it’s odd what he’s done and I’m sure it’s a possibility. If he does it or not, I don’t know, but if [Jon] Rahm can do it, most guys can do it.”

When asked what he thought of Chandler’s comments, the Northern Irishman played along.

“I think he’s writing a book, so there is that. I spoke to Chubby, I might have seen him in the Middle East at the start of the year.

“Never know. He might know a few things. Who knows?”

It’s likely that Rory was having a bit of fun with the media allowing the rumor to continue to swirl, but LIV fans on X certainly took the comments as a clear sign that a move to LIV could one day be on the cards for McIlroy.

The 34-year-old will tee it up on Thursday at PGA National for the Cognizant Classic at the Palm Beaches.

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Rickie Fowler’s offers straightforward solution to creating more of a demand for golf fans

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While speaking with the media in his pre-tournament press conference for the Cognizant Classic, Rickie Fowler speculated that there may currently be too much golf on television, with the product needing to improve.

“We’ve got to figure out a better way to entertain our fans and it come across better on TV”.

The former PLAYERS champion wondered aloud whether fans need a longer off-season for golf to get excited for it to start back up again the following season.

“If the season is kind of where it’s at with the January to August, is there ways to do different things in the fall,” Fowler said.

“We kind of have to create the want for golf. Right now, you can basically watch golf every week of the year for the most part. There’s not really an off-season.

“I feel like with other sports, people can’t wait for football preseason to start up, and that’s just preseason. The games don’t really matter a whole lot.

“Something along those lines to create a little bit more of a demand for golf because depending on how you want to talk about it, is the product potentially diluted with how much golf is available?”

When asked if he thinks there needs to be format changes, Fowler said he still thinks the events should be 72 holes with a cut.

“I think within reason [there could be format changes], but at the same time, it’s also a very traditional sport with traditional tournaments, 72 holes, cut going into the weekend.”

Rickie said he trusts that the Strategic Sports Group (SSG) will figure out a way to improve the product for fans going forward.

“I feel like ultimately we’re in the entertainment business, and we’ve got to figure out a better way to entertain our fans and it come across better on TV.

“How we do that, I don’t exactly know, but like I said, I feel like with the people that are involved, I definitely trust the guys.

“I feel like the guys – especially since they’re not just golf guys, I think they have enormous respect for the game of golf, but also they come from a lot of different avenues in sports and business, and I feel like they can help us kind of give direction on where we can or need to go.”

Fowler will tee it up in the Cognizant Classic on Thursday at PGA National.

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