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A Lexi To Remember

Youth is served.

Golf will age a player beyond their years and give players’ an age of experience before their time.

We have been riveted by the ascendancy and then the struggles of Michelle Wie since she burst onto the world golf scene 12 years ago.  She is now a grizzled veteran, who at the age of 24 has by all accounts underachieved, witnessed by her grand total of two wins on the LPGA Tour.

19 year old Lexi Thompson, already a 3-time winner on Tour, is the new Michele Wie.  The Wie that we expected perhaps which is why their pairing in the final group at the Kraft Nabisco Championship was more than interesting.  It was transcendent.

They both began play in the final round tied for the lead at 10-under par.  That tie would be broken immediately after the first hole when Thompson made a birdie—3 to Wie’s par-4.

Thompson’s swing often resembles a dervish whirly bird of movement that bears a striking resemblance to ‘the King”, Arnold Palmer, whose similarly unorthodox movements won 7 Major Championships.  Perhaps the modern and robotic Wie, who has been taught by David Leadbetter for the last dozen years, could take a page from the free-wheeling, Thompson and just ‘play’ the game.

Which is what Wie has actually being trying to do for the last year.  Just play; and not to think and to be more a ‘feel’ player who relies on their ability and instinct rather than a series of swing thoughts.  Of course, if we could have a chance to help her and teach her Clear Key (as Bird Golf students know, it is the magic “elixir” that allows you to play, without thinking), then she could so easily do what she so obviously, trying to do.  To read how, please see this link https://www.birdgolf.com/think-like-a-pro/

Wie’s one of a kind, T-square putting style that she has been implementing for the last 12 months, would let her down continually in the opening-9 as she missed one makeable putt after another. 

Meanwhile, Thompson would shoot a sensational 4-under par, 32 on that same stretch of holes, to take a commanding 5-shot lead heading into the last 9 holes of the Championship.

Much to her credit, though, Wie would battle back and make two early birdies on the back-9 to close the deficit to three shots with four holes to play.  But that would be as close as she would get, and after a bogey on the par-3, 17th hole the Kraft-Nabisco would become a fait accompli and Thompson would be the second youngest, Major Champion is history (Yani Tsen is the youngest).  Thompson’s closing 68 gave her a 4 shot victory over Wie, who may have re-captured a legion of fans this week with both her play and the graceful way that she handled herself.

This year ends the 33 year sponsorship of Kraft and Nabisco whose names have been synonymous with the event that many still refer to as the Dinah Shore. Legendary entertainer and huge supporter of Women’s golf, Shore will always be the person most responsible for making the Championship the iconic event that it is.  All the players have expressed their desire that while the sponsor may change, they adamantly want the year’s first Major to remain at Mission Hills Country Club, which has been the host facility since the inaugural year in 1972.

Thompson would complete her victory with the traditional jump into Poppy’s pond (the pond that guards the 18th green).  And it was a family affair as her brother and caddie, Benji, followed her along with her parents, Scott and Judy, for what must be the only time that a golfer ever wants to go into a water hazard.