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November 14, 2017
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the media center for the CME Group championship. Very happy to be joined by world No.4 Lexi Thompson. Lexi has two wins this season at the Kingsmill Championship and the Indy women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim.
Let me run through a couple more stats for you. No. 1 in the race to the CME Globe Reset; No. 1 in scoring average this year at 69.147; also fourth in Player of the Year and official money.
Lexi, we're going to get to all that, but I think the big thing to ask you about right now is what we heard this morning. We're very happy to see your mom here in the room with us. Your mom is cancer free.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yes, she is. We got the news about a few months ago. She went through all the radiation treatments and has been cleared. It's great to have her here, along with a lot of other family members that will be coming throughout the week.
Very special to have her here with me.
THE MODERATOR: I know she's such a support for you on the road. We chatted at Kingsmill and she talked about grilling you chicken.
What kind of support is it for you to have your mom on the road?
LEXI THOMPSON: She's my No. 1 supporter. I love her so much. She's my best friend. Any time I go home I am always spending time with her, getting our nails done, or really just hanging out talking. It's always the best time, and I look forward to it the most.
She doesn't get out to too many events throughout the year, so the ones she does are very special to me.
THE MODERATOR: Well, Judy, congratulations from the LPGA. Congratulations is probably not the best word, but we're very happy that you're here with us.
You're coming in well-rested. You had a week off last week. Played in Japan. How do you feel?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's always nice to be able to drive to an event. It's only about two hours from me in Delray Beach.
Yeah, I feel great. I had a nice week off. I relaxed and still practiced a lot and trained with my trainer. Actually played yesterday at Old Collier with the Immokalee Foundation tournament, so it's great to start off a week with that kind of charity event to help with a good cause.
Really looking forward to the week here in Naples.
THE MODERATOR: Your week started early. You said 6:45 you were on the tee this morning for 18 holes. How does the golf course look out there? I know there was a little difference, so maybe some trees down with Irma. We're hearing nothing but great things about the golf course.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, the course is in great shape for us. The greens are pretty firm, but they're rolling pretty smooth and actually pretty fast. I think it will come down to the approach shots into the greens. Then if it gets windy, come down to that.
The course is in spectacular shape. I saw it first off at 6:45 this morning. Everything was pretty pure. It will be throughout the whole week, I'm sure.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned the wind. We are expecting some windy conditions throughout the week. How do you prepare going into that knowing that you're probably going to be battling that throughout all four rounds?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's been pretty windy in West Palm Beach the last week that I was practicing. I got to practice a lot of controlled shots, just controlling my ball flight and learning how much on this golf course my ball is bouncing out on these greens.
So, yeah, it's all in controlling my ball flight, hitting a little bit more club and not swinging as hard. Yeah, that's basically what it comes down to. Just trusting you're lines off the tees and into these greens.
THE MODERATOR: Questions. I'll start. This has been such a different year for you on many levels. Coming through to the end of the year, the last week, so many titles up four grabs, $1 million of for grabs. What's been the biggest takeaway for you as a person as you look back at 2017?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's been definitely an up and down year. A lot of things have gone on. A lot of positives to take from the year. I would say throughout the whole year I've learned how strong I am on and off the golf course on what I've been through and how I've handled things and got right back up and played well after a few of these events.
Yeah, just learned how strong I was. I've practiced so much in the past off-season and in between these events, and this is probably the hardest I've worked this whole year. I am jut really looking forward to this week. Season-ending event, of course. Just to have my family and friends out here to support me means a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Great. Any questions?
Q. The Vare Trophy, you're in position to win that. Look back on the year and tell us what you think improved in your game to put you in this position.
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, what I worked on in the off-season was my short game, trying to improve on my chipping putting. I think that showed for the first half -- for the majority of the year with my chipping and putting. I was making a lot of putts in the beginning of the year and had very consistent finishes.
Had a lot of the second place finishes this year, but I would say just that the hard work paid off and that I played more consistently this year. My ball striking was on. Making those putts I think made that dramatic move in my game.
Q. A lot of up and downs, as you mentioned. What do you do to get mentally refreshed when you have some time off?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say that's probably why I didn't play as much this year. I took a lot of tournaments off that a lot of the girls played because I did have a lot going on off the golf course.
Just needed that time at home with my family and friends just to relax and not be out on the golf course and thinking about my game. That's not what I needed. I just needed to be home and spend some much needed time with my family.
I don't really do much when I'm home. I just like to decompress, hang by the pool, go to the beach. Things like that.
Q. Kind of a strange year with so many people at the top. Just curious if you have ever, at any time this year, felt like a dominant player? And if not, have you seen anyone else who has looked like a dominant player?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, there are so many players out here that have spectacular games. I've played well this year. I had a lot of consistent finishes with second places. You only feel like a dominant player if you're winning every week, and I haven't done that.
I mean, we all just trying to focus on our own games and just try to do our best, work hard. We know anybody that can tee it up this week can win. We just have to focus on ourselves.
Q. In past years you've used a lot of different putters. You changed putters, you've changed styles, you've putted with your eyes closed. This year you've been so consistent. Have you also been consistent in your technique and the putter you've used?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I have been. I'm still using the Bettinardi Queen Bee. I've used that all year. Stayed with moving goes closer to the ball, getting my eyes more over my ball, over my line, taking it straighter back.
I've really just stayed with that because I saw how good it was in the beginning of the year. You know, golf is such a crazy sport. It can be up and down any day. It feels very comfortable for me now, which is nice. It's all just a matter of doing speed drills and getting better at that.
Q. Improving your putting, you don't have a coach other than your dad's eyes. For putting did you go to anyone, or did you just fix that yourself also?
LEXI THOMPSON: I didn't go to anybody. I knew that I needed to work on it in the off-season. I knew I was standing too far away and I needed to open my eyes. That was something that I needed to change.
But I think the main thing was just moving closer to the ball and taking it straighter back. I was swinging it too inside/inside.
Q. At the start of the year, where would you rate Player the Year versus $1 million for winning the CME Globe?
LEXI THOMPSON: Like the importance of it?
Q. What do you rate higher?
LEXI THOMPSON: I don't know. That's a good question. I think it's something we don't really think about as players. We just try to go out there and win every time we tee it up. It's not like I tee it up in the first tournament in the Bahamas and say, Okay, I want Player of the Year this year. It would drive us crazy.
I just worked really hard in the off-season. I just came out and I wanted to win. I wanted to win tournaments. Honestly, just to improve on my golf game. That's all I wanted. Both of them mean the world, huge honor. I think it's great to have the race to the CME Globe be a year-long race and to have all the fans interested in this race.
I think it has widened our fan base for sure.
Q. Were you with your mom when she found out she got the all clear? When was that exactly? You said a couple months ago. Were you here in the U.S.?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I was in the U.S. She had gone through I believe five radiation treatments. They weren't back-to-back. They were sporadic throughout the weeks. Just hearing the updates after each radiation treatment. Was always good to hear she was doing okay.
I was like, Text me as soon as you're out. But just to see how her attitude was and how strong she was throughout everything she's been through, I think that's made me even stronger to see that.
Q. You mentioned playing less and being able to maybe refresh yourself more. Obviously the circumstances are what they are, but is that something you may look at in the future? Hey, this really worked for me, not playing so many, or not?
LEXI THOMPSON: Definitely. You know, I like to play in the tournaments that I really love the golf course on, and I want to make sure I'm refreshed for the major championships or the tournaments I really enjoy going to.
I feel like that's what I did this year. I made sure was refreshed for the ones I really wanted to play well at and that I felt confident going into.
I would just go home, spend time with my family, and make sure I practiced hard on my game making sure it was ready for those weeks.
Q. Of all the trials you went through on and off the course this year, which tested you the most, do you think, and why?
LEXI THOMPSON: I think that's pretty obvious what tested me the most this year. But, you know, it happens, I think. I believe everything I guess happens for a reason. I don't know why exactly, but it has made me so much stronger as a person on and off the golf course.
Just to see how I came back after it I think just shows.
Q. Think much about it?
LEXI THOMPSON: No.
Q. Now that we're here at the CME Group Tour Championship and you have all of those awards and possibilities, how do you approach this week?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, this is probably one of my favorite weeks just being in Naples, having my family and friends around, being able to drive to an event. It's one of my favorites.
There are a lot of the awards on the line, but it's not something you can really go out there and think about. You just have to go out there, play your own game, and whatever happens, happens. It's a sport. I'm just going to go out there and just try to do my best, focus on one shot at a time, and see what happens this week.
Q. So the Vare Trophy is worth a Hall of Fame point. How important is that to you, to get into the Hall of Fame? When did that first become a goal of yours?
LEXI THOMPSON: It's definitely an important accomplishment. That's my No. 1 goal, to be in the Hall of Fame. To be able to accomplish that and maybe get a point towards that means the world to me.
Like I said, I can't really focus on that. I just have to focus on playing my game and playing well this week. Definitely been in the back of my mind, because that's a No. 1 goal mine. Probably started maybe when I was 15. Probably when I first turned professional. Yeah, that was always a goal of mine.
Q. When you did go into the off-season after last year, can you share with us what your mindset was in devoting yourself more to your short game? Did you think it maybe separated you from a possible No. 1 ranking? What was your attitude?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, as soon as I got done here I had to play in the Shark Shootout last year, so I didn't take too much time off. I think I took maybe a week off totally from just touching my clubs in the whole off-season.
That's because I knew I needed to improve on things like my chipping and putting. I knew that's what held me back last year. I just devoted so much time to chipping and putting. I did two, three hours a day of it.
I think it showed that it paid off this year. It was more of just motivation. I'm just trying to get better. You can never perfect the sport.
So I'm going to do the same this year, this off-season, and still work on the same things and maybe even improve any ball striking.
Q. Do you feel like you have a more complete game now than ever and that maybe adds to your confidence in pursuing No. 1?
LEXI THOMPSON: I definitely think my game is getting there, and being well rounded, I still think that it can be tweaked and keep on improving. I think that's why we're all still playing golf. If we were done improving we wouldn't be playing probably if we perfected it.
I think it's the challenge that I love about this sport. I think this off-season I can improve on so much more of my game and be ready for 2018. I have to focus on finishing 2017 first.
THE MODERATOR: An improved Lexi Thompson. That's kind of a scary thought.
Q. Curious about improving. Do you need numbers to know that you've improved?
LEXI THOMPSON: I usually don't go off numbers. I don't really pay attention to stats and everything. My dad does, but I don't. I really just go on how I feel with my game throughout rounds. I know where I missed putts, where I need to improve on, where I didn't get up and down or anything like that.
I think it's the same things I need to work on this off-season, but maybe tighten up my ball striking even more.
Q. Do you find yourself throwing away fewer shots this year?
LEXI THOMPSON: No. I mean...
Q. Just curious if you can tell you're not...
LEXI THOMPSON: I think this year it went a lot better for me because I made a lot more putts during the season. I made a lot more clutch putts that I needed to make. Just played a lot more consistently, which last year was not maybe as consistent. Didn't have as good of finishes on a consistent basis.
This year was definitely better.
Q. Lastly, when you talk about the number of great performances this year widening the fan base, at what point do you think someone needs to step forward as a clear dominant player or have a rivalry take place to get more attention?
LEXI THOMPSON: That's tough, because there are so many great players out here and the amount of talent that is. And it is such a global tour, so you get all these girls from every different countries. And like Shanshan just winning the last three. It's been a different winner every week seems like for the majority of this year.
It's great to see. It's such a global tour, and to see all these girls around the world winning. A lot of people don't realize how tough it is to win every single week and have a dominant player on the tour.
It is very difficult. I don't know which would be better, but I think the tour is doing great so far. I think we're widening our fan base, and that's what we want.
THE MODERATOR: You're one ever five players who you win this week, no pressure, you get to take home $1 million. You take home the $1 million, what do you do with it?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I've been looking at getting a new car, so that would definitely go towards it.
Besides that, I'm honestly not too sure. Probably donate some to charities. Besides that, I don't even know. It's not something I've even thought of honestly. I've been looking at cars. That's all I know. I'm just going to try to focus on playing well this week and see?
THE MODERATOR: Any kind of cars in mind?
LEXI THOMPSON: The 2018 Corvette Z06.
THE MODERATOR: Another one similar to your fast lap at Indianapolis.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, exactly.
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