Lexi Thompson’s excursion to the Franklin Templeton Shootout in December won’t be a test of the waters to see how welcome she might be trying to tee it up in official PGA Tour events someday.
In fact, her agent, Bobby Kreusler, told GolfChannel.com that she has turned down more than one sponsor’s exemption to play in a PGA Tour event.
There will be no Michelle Wie like bid to play against the men for Thompson, though Thompson does harbor one PGA Tour dream. More on that in a few paragraphs. But as far as testing herself against PGA Tour pros ...
“If that’s something she wanted to do, she could have done it by now,” Kreusler said. “I don’t want to get into the specifics of what tournaments, or where, but I will tell you over the last four years we have been approached on several different occasions about being offered sponsor exemptions.”
Thompson, 21, is looking forward to having some fun in the unofficial team event in Naples, Fla. She will be the first woman to play in the Shootout since Annika Sorenstam played it 10 years ago.
“Lexi doesn’t have any delusions of trying to compete against men in PGA Tour events,” Kreusler said. “She’s not trying to send any kind of a message. It’s never been her desire to do that, or her belief that she or any of the top women could compete on a daily basis against the men on the PGA Tour.
“This is something different, a unique opportunity to play in a fun, exciting event. It’s a team event, in Florida, in the offseason, in Greg Norman’s event, someone she knows dating back more than six years, someone who’s involved with Cobra Puma, as Lexi is. There are a lot of tentacles to this.”
Thompson met Norman and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick six years ago when they were grouped in the Honda Classic Pro-Am. Like Thompson, Norman has a deal with Cobra Puma golf. The Shootout also fits Thompson as an unofficial event being played in Florida in the offseason on a course she’s familiar with, having played Tiburon in the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship and having Bryson DeChambeau as her playing partner. Thompson and DeChambeau played the CVS Charity Classic as partners this summer.
While Thompson has no design on playing future PGA Tour events, there’s one intriguing possibility that might tempt her.
“I will never say never, because there may be an opportunity where she wants to tee it up on a limited basis, where, say, her brothers might be playing in a PGA Tour event together,” Kreusler said. “I’m not saying it’s happening. I’m just saying if it’s a possibility down the road ...”
Thompson’s oldest brother, Nicholas, is a PGA Tour veteran. Her brother Curtis plays the Web.com Tour. They’ve played together since Lexi took up golf and the idea of playing together in a PGA Tour event might appeal to her.
“But Lexi has stated very eloquently that it’s only been her goal to compete against the women,” Kreusler said. “The LPGA has ridiculously good talent. You see how the level of talent has risen with these young stars. It’s all you can handle if you’re an LPGA woman trying to compete on tour.”