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June 18, 2019

Lexi Thompson

Chaska, Minnesota

THE MODERATOR: We're back with Lexi Thompson, an 11 time LPGA Tour champion, including the 2014 ANA inspiration. Three Top-2 finishes. Lexi has already visited the winner's circle this year with a win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, runnerup finish in the U.S. Women's Open and last week at the Meijer's LPGA Classic. Coming in on a roll.

Competing in her 9th PGA championship with best of 3rd in the 2015. I mentioned three straight top two finishes. That's a good feeling.

Are you maybe playing some of the best golf of your career right now?

LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, you could say that. I've been working really hard on my game, overall, in general trying to be more consistent, working on my ball striking.

I went through a lit bit of a rough patch where my ball-striking wasn't how I usually ball strike it out on the golf course. That's usually the good thing about my game and it's faltered a little bit I would say in the beginning of the year maybe and I just been working so hard on my game just in general and just to see it payoff it means a lot to me and especially to have the finish at the U.S. Women's Open and win at ShopRite isn't usually necessarily the golf course that I see myself winning at, but I hit it well that week in the windy conditions and it was all about controlling the ball flight.

So then finishing 2nd last week. I love that event being just in Michigan. One of our best events. It's good finishes at those events, it means a lots.

THE MODERATOR: We know the changeover to the claw grip you mentioned in working on your game.

What specifics are you working on to try and move it to the next level?

LEXI THOMPSON: I would say with my ball-striking, just I just being more consistent, trying to get my miss not to be as far left or right as it was for a few weeks or so.

I missed the cut at Kingsmill and I decided I told my dad I'm changing my flight, let me go home for a few days and work with my dad for those two days.

I probably put in 6 to 7 hours of just hitting balls and working on my game and probably the best decision I made. Unfortunately, I missed the cut in Kingsmill but it definitely paid off at the next three.

THE MODERATOR: So you come in off the win. Now we come to Hazeltine which is such a vaunted, well-known, historic course. What are your thoughts on this golf course? How familiar are you with it?

THE WITNESS: I heards a lot of great things about Hazeltine and the history behind it. I haven't seen it yet. So today in the Pro-Am is my first look at it. I've seen pictures and everything. It looks like it's in amazing shape and great layout. I'm really looking forward to it.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.

Q. Lexi, how much of the recent results can you give credit to the change to the claw grip and just how comfortable have you become with it?
LEXI THOMPSON: Changing to the claw limits -- definitely made a tremendous change in my putting. Like I said, my brother helped me change to that the Tuesday of the U.S. Women's Open.

He's done the claw for quite some time now. Try it out. Takes the right hand out of it. Ever since then I feel so much more comfortable with it and more relaxed over the putt. I think that's what I needed the most.

Q. You've also approached the game with a different attitude this year, more that your happiness isn't determined by only what happens on the golf course. Do you think that's contributed to your success, too?
LEXI THOMPSON: It always help. Golf is at least 80 percent mental and I mean it's been tough for me to actually get in that mindset because I've known golf my whole life.

Ever since I was five it's the only thing I've done and I mean it's just been in my blood. I've always known, all right, wake up early, let's go practice and play. I love it. That's why I love the game.

I love the hard work and you can never perfect it. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to it. Yeah, it's been a mindset that I've had to really learn and force myself to get into because it was kind of driving me insane and it's just what I do and sometimes I have to tell myself that, it's just a game.

Q. Since you played for such a long time, what's one thing you wish you had been told as a younger golfer and in the spirit of like the Greatness Campaign, what's something you wish you could tell a young girl trying to get into the game?
LEXI THOMPSON: What I would say girls trying to get into the game, I mean kind of what I just told Ron, just do something that you love. I mean find your passion at the young age or whenever you want to try to get into something, find what you absolutely love and then just pursue that.

I think you'll be most successful at whatever you love the most because you have the drive to get into it and just the passion behind it to work hard and be your best at whatever it is that you want to pursue.

But for little girls that want to get involved with the game, I just say have fun with it. You know, there's so many great programs now that get kids involved in the game at such a young age. I think it's so great to have kids around your age around you to do little contests or like PGA Junior League, play as a team.

I think that's what kids love the most. I think people really finding that out, like bringing them in as a team, making them experience the fun aspect of golf and then you get into the lessons and working hard. It takes a lot of hard work to be the best at what you do.

But that goes into it. You have to make sure you have fun with it.

Q. Lexi, you've won a lot of tournaments. The way you won the ShopRite, making that putt on the last hole, how did that feel different and how big was that putt for your confidence?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, it felt great to win it that way. I didn't know I had won it, obviously, at the time when I made that putt because I was still expecting her to make an eagle because you never know what can happen. It's a short par 5.

I played great all week. I just -- I didn't look at leaderboards. I didn't know where I was until 17's green. I was like, "Oh, okay. Let's birdie this last hole."

I was trying to stay in my game and really just focus on my game and just not get ahead of myself, go out there and just play relaxed.

But it is great to win that. I told my caddy, Benji, on the last putt. "I'm not leaving it short, not leaving it short, getting it to the hole" and as soon as I hit it, "Oh, sit. Oh, sit."

I wasn't expecting it to lip in. I'll definitely take it.

Q. This as been a long stretch for you. Are you under the weather with allergies?
LEXI THOMPSON: I know. Do I really sound this bad? I have a weird voice to begin with. I am, I'm a bit congested right now. I'm not feeling my best but it's all good. I'm taking some allergy medicine right now. I usually don't have allergies but who knows.

Q. Lexi, has your career gone pretty much exactly like you thought it was 12 years ago, half your life you've been doing this at this level?
LEXI THOMPSON: I don't really know what I expected when I was 12 years old, what my career was going to look like. I knew at 12 this is what I wanted to do, be on the LPGA Tour and play against the best if not be one of the best.

I knew I could do that as long as I put in the hard work, I did on-line schooling and practiced five to eight hours a day and I knew if I put in the work and had a good attitude towards the game it would payoff.

I'm happy to see that. I'm going to continue to work hard and improve on what I need to and just enjoy the ride.

Q. You're on the brink of No. 1 again. What have you learned in the past about what may help you in this situation get there, you know, what you want to avoid thinking?
LEXI THOMPSON: To get to No. 1 I mean honestly I don't think about rankings at all. I know I'm No. 2 right now but I'm just -- I'm going into every event wanting to win. We want to come out here and win, play our best golf.

I think -- I'm -- I've been doing the best at is the focusing on my game and not trying to force anything or thinking of the outside picture or results or anything.

So, I'm just focusing on myself and what makes me the happiest and what will make my game better and what I need to improve on and I think that's all I can do. Wherever that takes me, it takes me.

Q. Lexi, two questions. First, it gets really cold here. When you come here, what sticks out to you either about the culture, the geography or just, in general, the State?
LEXI THOMPSON: That's a loaded question. I don't know (laughter). I mean I've been here once my whole life. Honestly, I couldn't really tell you. I know it has a lot of history here but I'm looking forward to this week and playing in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

I've heard so many great things about the golf course. I couldn't tell you much about the geography and history. I don't know. I'm looking forward to this week and playing.

Q. All right. On a completely different note, hole 16 looks like a par 4 that you can either be aggressive or maybe let up and stay back.
You haven't played but, in general, what aspects may come up Saturday or Sunday, what variables do you have in mind whether you're thinking I want to be aggressive on this hole or take a more reserved approach?

LEXI THOMPSON: I haven't seen the golf course yet so I don't know the hole but usually I play pretty aggressive. But it all depends. It will depend on how I'm playing that day, what I feel comfortable with off the tee or position-wise where I'm at.

So, yeah, we'll see once I get to that hole and then once I play a few practice rounds to get a good feel of either laying up is better or being aggressive. You know, usually playing aggressive is the way to go for me.

Q. Lexi, you spoke about what you would say to the younger generation. In addition to the championship tomorrow is the KPMG Ladies' Summit. It's "Inspire Greatness".
Can you talk a little bit about a female in your life that inspired you throughout your career?

LEXI THOMPSON: I mean I would say there's two. Basically on the golf side it's Nancy Lopez. She's been my biggest role model just in the golfing world. She was my Captain at the Juniors Solheim Cup. Ever since then she's been a huge role model to me, not only on the course and her accomplishments but how she is as a woman in general and how she inspires others and how she's given back to the game. It is very inspirational to me, I always want to be like her.

Off the course, my mom. She's always inspired me just to be the best woman I can be and just to always be positive. She's been through so much and she goes through everything that she's been put through with a smile on her face.

That kind of opens my eyes sometimes if I get mad at golf, look what my mom has gone through. Saw the smile on her face with the most upbeat personality and positive attitude.

She's inspired me just to be the best person I can possibly be.

Q. Lexi, you've talked a bit about your approach to social media and how it's changed in the past few months.
I'm curious if you can like kind of point to how it's helped you out on the golf course because it seems to have a positive effect.

LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah. I mean it's not the exact result of why I'm playing well but it has helped. Sometimes I get too, too involved with my social media just because I love reaching out to my fans and giving them an inside look of what goes into my life or just how I'm a normal 24 year old, just let them experience that with me.

So, I mean I love social media on that aspect, giving the fans an inside look, but I realize that I just need time for myself and just really focus on what makes me happy and what I can do to make my game the best and that's what I've been doing.

I still have Instagram, which I love, I post all my pictures and I have my puppy page, too. I still do that. I'm just like not on it like I used to be, checking comments and everything like that. I just post and then let it go.

THE MODERATOR: Anything further for Lexi? Lexi is off No. 10 at 9:08 with Inbee Park and Ariya Jutanugarn. Good luck.

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