Lexi thanks Pressel for assisting her mother

By Randall MellJune 30, 2017, 1:11 am

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Lexi Thompson says it’s already been a challenging year, but her mother is inspiring her to fight through every obstacle.

Thompson’s team revealed Wednesday that Lexi’s mother, Judy, is being treated for uterine cancer.

After opening the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with a 1-under-par 70 Thursday, Lexi spoke for the first time about the family’s struggle.

“My mom has always been, no matter what she's going through, the biggest fighter,” Thompson said. “She's always been a role model of mine. I always aspire to be half the woman that she is.

“She just says, 'No matter what, I love you. Just go out, do your best, that's all you can do.' That's her message every week, and that's why I absolutely love her.”

Judy was diagnosed with uterine cancer last month. She underwent surgery to have a tumor removed on June 6. Lexi spent last week with her mother in Coral Springs, Fla., where her agent, Bobby Kreusler, said she held her mother’s hand through radiation therapy.

This isn’t the first health battle Lexi has watched her mother fight through. Judy is a breast cancer survivor. Lexi said she was diagnosed with that disease about 10 years ago.

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“Luckily, they caught it pretty early when it was a small size,” Lexi said. “That was a challenging time for me, when I was younger.”

Lexi called her mother her best friend.

“Just to see how much she's fighting, it's inspirational,” Lexi said.

Thompson publicly thanked LPGA pro and fellow South Floridian Morgan Pressel, who lost her own mother to breast cancer, for helping Lexi’s mother with treatment.

Pressel’s foundation is among the leaders in the fight against breast cancer. Pressel used her contacts to help the Thompsons.

“I can't thank Morgan enough, and her foundation, and the community that she's involved with,” Thompson said.

While Thompson is having a terrific year, there has been pain, on and off the course. She appeared to be running away with the ANA Inspiration in April when she was hit with a four-shot penalty on the back nine of the final round and then lost in a playoff. The penalty was incurred after a viewer alerted LPGA officials by email. A spirited debate followed afterward over whether Thompson deserved a two-shot penalty for incorrectly returning her ball to its mark while putting in the third round and then another two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard.

Thompson rebounded, winning the Kingsmill Championship last month with her mother there. That victory is among Thompson’s five second-place finishes worldwide over her last seven starts.

Thompson said golf has helped her manage through the tough times.

“Golf has kind of been my outlet, to just go out and play and get my mind off things,” Thompson said. “Sometimes golf brings more struggles to my mind. But it's been OK. I've been practicing really hard when I do go home, but just trying to spend as much time with my mom and my family, and just trying to balance out everything. Just trying to stay happy.”

Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.