Last weekend, Lexi Thompson showed the LPGA that she is ready, as a player, to compete and win. She led wire to wire in her five-stroke victory in the Navistar Classic in Prattville, Alabama. She was never seriously challenged because she did not allow anyone to come close.
If there is anything she lacks, I’m not sure what it would be. Her size and strength make her the biggest hitter out there. She has touch around the greens as well. The only question is how well she can stand up to week-in, week-out competition, or whatever the LPGA schedule can muster up that approaches that.
That’s the only question about her playing ability. There is a big question about her even playing. Should she be able to become a full-time member of the LPGA Tour at 16 years of age, or next year at 17?
The LPGA rule about the minimum age for membership says that an applicant must be a “. . . female (at birth) [there’s a hot-button issue right there] 18 years of age or over. . . . Females (at birth) between the ages of 15 and 18 may be granted special permission to apply for membership. . .”
So it can be done. Aree Song became a member at age 17 in 2003, as did Morgan Pressel in 2005, and neither were any worse off for it.
There also seems to be a requirement for her to go through Q School, even though she has won on the Tour. There isn’t much sense in that, and Mike Whan, the LPGA Comissioner, has the authority to waive that matter. We might know in a few days.
The only thing I would be concerned about is Thompson’s education. I believe a younger player must have received an accredited high school diploma to be eligible to apply for LPGA membership. The word “accredited” refers to the document awarded by a secondary school that provides a curriculum meets the requirements of the regional education accrediting agency. The diploma must also meet the standards for all public high schools of the state in which she lives.
I could, at this point, launch into an essay on the value of an education, but do I really need to? Get the diploma, the right one, then go play all the golf you want.