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November 19, 2019
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. We're here in Naples at the 2019 CME Group Tour Championship, and happy to be joined by defending champion, Lexi Thompson.
Lexi has a win this year at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and six other top 10 finishes.
I want to start with your win at ShopRite. That makes it seven consecutive years that you have an LPGA Tour win. A, how have you been out here for seven years already? And B, what's the key to your consistency out here?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's pretty crazy to think that I've been out for so long and I'm only 24 years old. I started young and turned pro when I was 15. It's been a great road, journey for me.
Consistency-wise, just practicing in my off weeks and just staying level headed. It's such an up and down game; you're going to struggle a lot, so you just have to get through the hard times with a positive attitude and keep on moving forward.
THE MODERATOR: Are you aware of streaks like that that you've got going on for you? What is your vision of where you sit out there historically stalactitically, or do you just focus on your game?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say I only know those stats because of you guys. I'm just out here. I go into every tournament wanting to win, and I know I put the work into my game in the off weeks and always trying to improve on myself.
If it pays off, that's great, but I'm always just working on myself on and off the golf course.
THE MODERATOR: Going back to last year, it was a great moment when you won on 18, the winning putt. Curtis on your bag, the whole family there. That's when we all got to meet Leo.
Thinking back to last year, what do you remember most from that time? That was just smiles all around for the Thompson family.
LEXI THOMPSON: I would just a this week in general I have a lot of family that comes out though tournament, a lot of friends that come out, so I have a big support group every single day to come out and watch me.
But just the whole week. I had Curtis on my bag, so we were constantly laughing and just telling jokes and everything, I had my dog, Leo, so he always put a smile on my face.
It was just overall a very relaxing week to be out here, and I think I that showed in my game. That's what it's all about.
THE MODERATOR: And for everyone, I did ask. Leo is here this week, so I'm sure we'll have some Leo sightings.
So now it's a year later. We're right back here finishing up 2019. You have the win. We were joking, has anyone holed out for eagle at 18 more than you have this year. It's been quite a year for you. Certainly some ups and downs, roller coasters. Looking back at the year, what are some of your biggest takeaways that you take from the 2019 season?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, like I said earlier, golf is such an up and down game. I had a lot great tournaments, especially in the middle of the year. We had -- well, I had two five-week stretches and I usually never play five weeks in row. It was lot different for me.
I had a lot good finishes, so I took a lot of positives off of that. You know, I've gone through a few swing changes, a few different putting techniques, and some things are going to work and some will work for a little bit and fade. That's how golf is. It's always a process. You can never perfect it. That's what I'm going with. I've had a lot of great tournaments. It's been a great year.
I have this event and Shark Shootout in a few weeks, and then I'll have a nice off-season to continue to work on my game.
THE MODERATOR: Does all that time at the Shootout and now however many tournaments here help with your familiarity at Tiburon? You seem pretty at home here.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it really does. I've played here a lot of the years in a row now. Shark Shootout they play a little bit longer, basically every back tee box.
It's just a great area here in Naples and the golf course is always in great shape for us. I just look forward to the week in general. It's very relaxing and I have so many people out here to support me. It's definitely one of my favorite weeks.
THE MODERATOR: Open up for any questions.
Q. When you have a win and as many Top 10s as you have, anyone else it would be considered a career season. How is it that you can still embrace the fans and us in the media while also managing the expectations that people have for you, which are sometimes unrealistic?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I would say sometimes they're not realistic. It's important to interact with the fans and you guys because they make the game. You know, I want to get my message out there and thank my fans for always supporting me through ups and downs. I think that's sometimes more important than golf, because we're going to struggle, but it's important to have our fan base out there to support us through thick and thin.
Like I said, I've had a great year. I'm very happy with it. I'm looking forward to continuing to work on the things that I am now and to keep on improving.
Q. You talked about some swing changes. Anyone else besides your dad take a look at your swing and can you tell us where you are with those changes?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I've worked with Joe out here a little bit. You know, he's always been out there for me, looking at my golf swing and everything. We've worked together quite a bit. We worked with each other at Indy for a few hours. It's been going well.
I know what I need to work on in my golf swing. It's just a matter of getting there and having repetitions with it.
Q. Joe Hallett?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yes, Joe Hallett.
Q. What was sort of the main thing that you're working onto get more consistency?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I worked with Joe Hallett a lot with my chipping. I worked with him a lot there in Indy. With my golf swing, just trying to be more on the ground. I know it's pretty much impossible for me with how hard I swing, but trying to get a little bit tapered down and just get my timing more right.
I think I've done that overall in the last few weeks. Just a matter of engraining it and more repetitions on the range and everything like that.
Q. When did you say you started working with Joe?
LEXI THOMPSON: I worked with him in Indy for that week a little bit.
Q. I kind of want to go back to what Steve was talking about. It's interesting with you, and you mentioned you're 24. Feels like you should be 30; you look like your 21. I think we all kind of feel like we've watched you grow up out here. You've gone from a little girl to this young woman. I've watched you the last few years and I know you've talked about it publically, but you seem to just be so much more forthcoming and comfortable in your own skin. It's kind of like Jordan Spieth. You watch him. There are so many expectations from what you guys have done. You seem to be embracing that now. Maybe I'm wrong. How would you say you have been able to take pressure off yourself to do all these things that people want you to do? You've had a great season, one win, six top 10s. How do you take that pressure off yourself week in and week out to just go out there and be yourself and play your game?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's definitely tough. I've gotten better with it over the years. It's especially tough when you come out here at 15 and accomplish what I have in the first few years. And with what I've done, to not get the expectations from the outside and have that affect you in some way.
But I think overall in the last few years, I've just kind of taken it in, but at the same time, I'm going to do me. I'm going to just try my best, and I can't let the outside world get involved with my life. I'm going to try my hardest. A lot of people don't realize we're humans; we're not robots. We can't perform to our highest every week. We're going to miss putts; we're going hit terrible golf shots.
I've actually just over the last few months I've just been happier. I've just tried to be more relaxed and just enjoy life and be myself. Sometimes we feel like we have to be a certain person for people, but I am who I am, and I think that's what my family helped out the most with.
Over the years I've learned so much about myself. I'm just trying to enjoy life more.
Q. Do you think in the long run it'll help you enjoy the game more and maybe add to the longevity out here competing?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I really think it will. The more pressure you put on yourself and listen to the outside on expectations and what you should be achieving, it's just going to tear you down. Then if you focus on that you can't perform to your highest and what you're capable of.
It's really important to focus on your goals and what you want to achieve and just continue to work on yourself.
Q. How would you characterize where the Americans versus the rest of the world is? Is that something that going back to what was talked about earlier, the fans and the media get into more than the players, or not?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say a little bit, yeah. You know, us Americans, we're just trying to do our best. It's not like we come together and we're like, Hey, we got to play well this week. No. We're all bringing the talent to the table. It is a global tour, so we come from so many different countries all over the world.
It's great to see the talent level out here, and it's just getting better and better.
Q. Two questions, if I may. With all the time off with the one event in Japan, how much did you actually put the clubs away? Was there a time when did you that?
LEXI THOMPSON: Honestly, going in it was like I have five weeks off, I'm going to take some time off. I might have taken three or four days off. I knew I had to work on my game. I knew the things that I needed to work on.
I was like, This is my time that I can put all my reps in and just spend time on the range and basically hit balls until my hands bleed almost, because I was so determined to fix any swing and just what I was trying to work on. I just never had the time to, so I really took advantage of those weeks off.
Q. Is it fair that the passion -- sounds like you have a lot of passion still for this game to put that much time in.
LEXI THOMPSON: Oh, yeah. I definitely do. You know, I say we're all crazy for playing golf because you can never perfect it. It's always something different every single day. Sometimes we're like, Oh, gosh, why do we play? At the same time, we have the passion to always do better and fix things in our swing or whatever we're struggling with.
So, yeah, that was definitely me in those five weeks.
Q. What has impressed you the most about Jin Young Ko this season?
LEXI THOMPSON: Jin Young Ko? Well I've played with her quite a bit, and she's just overall such a great player. Very consistent and not many weaknesses in the game. There really isn't. Just consistent off the tee. Very straight, and her short game is unbelievable. Not like she really needs to chip much, but she's just overall such a solid player. It's very impressive to watch, I would say.
Q. The $1.5 million first place check, obviously that would mean a lot to whoever wins it. In the larger sense, how important is having that big of a payday for the women's game and maybe the future of the women's game?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I think that's so great for the women's game. I think women's game has grown so much just over the years since I turned professional. We've gained a lot of events, a lot of sponsorships, and the purses have increased over the years.
So to have a tournament, our season-ending tournament to play for $1.5 million, it's a big deal for us. I think it just shows how much the women's game is growing, and we just hope to continue to have that movement.
THE MODERATOR: Anything further for Lexi? Before I wrap up, I do have two quick questions. Similar along the lines, CME, not only have they increase the purse here to $1.5 million, but started this hole-in-one program with $20,000 for every hole-in-one to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. You had a hole-in-one back in Singapore, so $2,000 in your name goes to St. Jude.
We're going to have some kids out here this week from the hospital. What does it mean to you to have that support and know there are these funds going to support children? You speak so much about how much children and the future of the game are important to you.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's pretty inspiring honestly just to have the LPGA Tour give back in ways like that. Because athletes, you know, we play golf for a living or whatever sport it is, but we want to give back as well. And not only to the game, but our own charities or charities that are close to our hearts.
For mine it's the military and breast cancer, and a lot of the girls out here have their own. It's so great that the LPGA Tour has The Hole-in-One Foundation and gives back to the St. Jude's Children's Hospital. I think it's great. We're trying for those hole-in-ones, that's for sure.
But it's great to see some of the kids out here, and it's very inspiring that we're impacting their lives and helping out.
THE MODERATOR: Real quickly, $1.5 million. You've had the opportunity to make some splurges. We know you want to buy something for mom, you want to buy something, you want to take care of people.
There has to be something that you've got your eye on that you're thinking about or something you never dreamed you would ever be able to get.
If you got $1.5 million, any idea? A little something?
LEXI THOMPSON: I don't even know honestly. I always say every time I get a paycheck like that it's a car. I usually always end up getting a car, so maybe the new Corvette. I don't know.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll follow up.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, baby steps.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much, Lexi.
Q. How many cars have you bought since you turned pro?
LEXI THOMPSON: For or five.
THE MODERATOR: Favorite one?
LEXI THOMPSON: The one I have now, Corvette Stingray, the ZO6.
Q. What happened to the other four?
LEXI THOMPSON: Trade them in, get the new one.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks so much, Lexi. Have a great week.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports