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June 9, 2015

Lexi Thompson


THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for continuing to be with us this afternoon here at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship here at Westchester Country Club. It's a great pleasure to have in the Rolex world-ranked No. 11 player, Lexi Thompson is here. Lexi good to see you, big smile.


The MODERATOR: The weather has decided to come down a little bit this afternoon, but you played this morning. Let's start with your impressions of this golf course.

LEXI THOMPSON: Oh, it's a great golf course. It's my first time to Westchester Country Club and it is in amazing shape. Rough is deep and it is a difficult track. It's playing pretty long and this rain will help it play even longer.

THE MODERATOR: That's good for you, right?

LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I hit a good amount of drivers already, so I'm definitely going to be bombing driver out there. But it's a great golf course, amazing layout, playing tough, even the par 3s are pretty long. So it's very good to see. That's what major championships are usually like.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, so perfect follow-up. Take me back to your thoughts when this tournament kind of came to be between KPMG, The PGA of America and the LPGA to take a major championship with great history and maybe go next step, next level.

LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well, once we heard that this tournament got sponsored by KPMG, we were all excited and plus my new sponsorship with Zurich. Zurich is one of my sponsorships. Great to see these tournaments getting new sponsorships, and I think that's what the LPGA is doing great with. We are growing a huge fan base and more sponsors throughout the years. It's very good to see but there's so much history behind this tournament and for KPMG to come and sponsor the tournament, it's only going to get better and we're going to be moving year-to-year to different locations, which I'm really looking forward to.

THE MODERATOR: When you were younger -- and by the way we have winners of the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship here, we have a junior reporter who is nine years old.

LEXI THOMPSON: I got interviewed. Very good questions.

THE MODERATOR: When you were a young girl and you were thinking about potentially being a professional golfer, did you envision the stage being as big as this this week and the way the majors are now, i.e., ANA, one that you've won?

LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I've always seen myself being a professional. I've always wanted to be a professional since I was 12 years old, ever since I made it to my first U.S. Women's Open it's always been a dream of mine. I think it's just over-exceeded my expectations how big these majors are and how amazing just our tournaments are in general, how they are run, how many fans we get out there now. It's great to see how KPMG and other sponsors are running this tournament and how well it is. The golf course is great but the hospitality and everything else, we couldn't ask for anything more.

THE MODERATOR: As a role model yourself, and you are one of the girls' golf ambassadors for the LPGA -- and by the way, today Michelle Wie is now an ambassador for LPGA Junior Golf League, the biggest stars are taking part, and that's where I want to go with that a little bit. I realize that having your name on your bag, we've talked about this a little bit is more than just shooting 66, 68, 71, whatever the number is, it's about more than that. You're a frequent star at every Pro-Am party. What is it like, and what responsibility do you feel to grow the game and be a part of every part of being a pro?

LEXI THOMPSON: It's not only what we bring out on the golf course, what scores we shoot. It's how we are as a person, how we give back to the game. Not only charity-wise -- my main charity is the Wounded Warrior Project and Breast Cancer Foundation. I love giving back to those charities. But also being an ambassador for LPGA Girls Golf Program, and it's a huge honor just to know that little girls and boys are looking up to us for advice, asking us questions and it's great to see that the game of golf is just growing even bigger and bigger and it's getting younger. So it's great to see. It is the responsibility for us but I absolutely love being out here, love signing all the autographs and taking pictures and growing to the Pro-Am parties.

THE MODERATOR: You're 6'1". Almost everyone looks up to you.

Q. What has been the difference that you've seen so far in this event and the event in Rochester, more energy? What have you seen so far that differentiates this event?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would definitely say that there's a different energy this week at Westchester Country Club. Just obviously it felt like a major in Rochester, but this year it really, really does. It feels like a U.S. Women's Open and it feels like a major championship, and there's a whole different atmosphere at majors than other tournaments. But we go in with the same positive attitude of trying our best. You know, know extra pressure, but golf courses are set up different for majors. They are a lot longer and more difficult. So you have to bring your A Game.

Q. What have the conversations been like on the room or on the range or have there been any about this event and what people are saying?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, everybody's just been saying how great the hospitality is and everybody loves the golf course. I mean, the golf course is in perfect shape for us and it's obviously going to be playing really long out there. But you know, everybody's really looking forward to getting this tournament started.

THE MODERATOR: Three Top 10s in majors last year; seventh at the ANA Inspiration this year and you're a major winner. What kind of extra perhaps practice do you put in for a major, how do you change your mind-set for a major, what have you learned about majors in your career?

LEXI THOMPSON: I would say the different practice that I do is a lot more short game around the greens, especially this week. There's a lot of run-offs on the greens and you have to practice little chip shots or even bumps, and the rough is pretty thick around the greens so you have to do a little bit of flop shots, too. It's a lot more short game practice and get where you want to place it; if you do miss, you have to think about where you want to miss. Unfortunately you have to think about that so you don't short-side yourself. Yeah, same mind-set, go into it with a positive attitude but I would say just be patient out there because majors are very long weeks, so even if you have a bogey you have to go to the next hole and try to make a birdie on the easier holes out there and stay patient with it.

Q. How is the course setup as far as allowing you to be aggressive? Is it a course where you feel like you can hit as many drivers as you want or does it make you think about where you hit your driver?
LEXI THOMPSON: There's only about a few holes that I don't hit driver on. I get to hit driver a good amount out there, especially since it's going to be playing a little bit softer out there. Only a few holes that I'll have to lay up on, hit maybe a hybrid or a 3-wood off the tee.

Q. With all the opportunities off the course, sponsorships, advertisements, could you envision growing up, these kind of opportunities being available to top women's golfers?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, growing up I never imagined this opportunity and how I've become out on the golf course with my sponsorships. I've been very lucky and I'm truly grateful with the sponsorships that I've had and the relationships I've grown with being out on the LPGA Tour. It's been a dream come true honestly. Ever since I turned professional at 15, it's been an amazing journey. There's been the downs, but the ups just make it so much better. I've had a fun time going through it all and I hope that the kids that are looking up to me see that I'm just following my dreams out there.

Q. Specifically one of your ads was a commercial with other PUMA athletes. You flew to Milan with Usain Bolt. Anything interesting from the conversations you had with him that you could share?
LEXI THOMPSON: You know, he's a super laid-back guy. We had a lot of laughs on that airplane ride. We talked about TV shows. He got mad at me for some reason for saying that my favorite show was Criminal Minds or Law and Order for some reason. He was a very cool guy. I got so spend a few hours with him. He was cracking jokes the whole time. He had a camera in his face the few hours I got to spend with him and he was just a very laid back, cool guy.

THE MODERATOR: What does it say about maybe the LPGA today that you yourself is sharing company with Usain Bolt, an Olympic champion, and great athletes, we're talking world-class athletes; and the same could be said for Stacy Lewis or Paula Creamer, who have been able to share stages, Michelle Wie. What does it say about women's golf right now?

LEXI THOMPSON: Oh, I think it's saying a lot of things. Not only that women's golf is growing. Obviously everybody knows that. Women's golf is growing with the amount of tournament that is we're gaining each and every year and the fan bases that we're growing, the TV coverage. But I truly think it just shows that dreams can come true. I've always dreamt of being out on Tour, meeting famous people and taking pictures with people. But it is a dream come true to be out here. If you put your mind to anything, put in the work, you can achieve what you want.

Q. You've talked about wanting to be a pro since you were 12. Your class in the AJGA playing now; what does it say about the commitment you guys put into the game and now everyone enjoying success -- well, enjoying growing success on this tour playing with the world's best players?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I've played with those girls quite a bit, especially growing up in AJGA tournaments, so I know them pretty well. Obviously they have amazing games and have a great amount of talent. They are showing it out here. It obviously takes a lot of practice, patience out here, because you're going to miss cuts. You're going to play bad but you just have to get through it, keep practicing and work on parts of your game that need help; if it's not parts of your game, it's the mental side. You have to work on it all and it takes time.

Q. Were there any women that you played with regularly practice rounds on the AJGA that you are now to go on the LPGA Tour?
LEXI THOMPSON: I played with Jessica Korda quite a bit with the AJGAs in practice rounds and traveled a bit with her to the tournaments. So we got to know each other pretty well and we have very similar games. It's great to see her out here doing well, also.

Q. You talked about the energy you feel here. How much does playing in the shadow of New York City add to that?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, it has a pretty big impact. It's great to be here in New York to play and such an amazing golf course, too, with a great amount of history behind it at Westchester Country Club. I think I can speak on behalf of all the other players; that it's a huge honor to be here, and to tee it up this week and play one of our majors here.

THE MODERATOR: Fill in the blank for me before you go. You won the ANA Inspiration not this year but a year ago. Big leap for you, not only into the pond but into the stratosphere of major golf champions. Winning this week, a second major for you, would mean what?

LEXI THOMPSON: How many words do I get?

THE MODERATOR: As many as you need.

LEXI THOMPSON: It would mean the world to me. To get the first major championship under my belt at the ANA Inspiration was a huge honor. But to win here at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship would be a dream come true to get that second one.

THE MODERATOR: Best of luck this week. Thanks so much for being up here and for being an ambassador for women's golf.
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