“Let Lexi Play!”
Given news that 16-year-old Lexi Thompson won’t attend the second stage of LPGA Qualifying School next week, it’s clear that is exactly what the tour is preparing to allow her to do.
Puma launched a campaign on Twitter this week urging followers to use a #LetLexiPlay hashtag to support Thompson’s bid to play the LPGA as a member. Thompson’s agent, Bobby Kreusler, is submitting a petition to gain Thompson a waiver of the LPGA’s rule requiring members be at least 18 years old so she can take tour membership for her Navistar Classic victory on Sunday. Thompson has an endorsement deal with Puma.
With the Solheim Cup being played this week, Thompson’s petition is expected to be officially ruled up on next week. Look for Thompson to defer membership until the start of next season.
There are a few reasons that’s probable. First, if Thompson sought immediate membership rights for her victory at Navistar, she wouldn’t be eligible for Rookie-of-the-Year honors next year. This would be considered her rookie year. By tour rules, once she gains a waiver, she’s allowed to defer membership for the victory until next year. Also, Thompson will be 17 at the start of next season. Her birthday is Feb. 10. With LPGA commissioner Mike Whan wary of opening the door to juniors, he doesn’t set precedent welcoming a 16-year-old as a member if she defers her status to next year.
Thompson, by the way, has climbed to No. 44 in the Rolex World Rankings. That’s higher than four Americans on the Solheim Cup team.