Alexis Thompson won $336,472 playing six LPGA events as a professional this year.
Nobody can take that away from her.
Well, nobody but the LPGA.
When LPGA officials calculate non-member money winnings at year’s end, the 15-year-old phenom won’t get credit for the $314,842 she won tying for second at the Evian Masters and tying for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open this year.
For non-members, the LPGA only counts money won in “LPGA co-sponsored domestic tournaments with fields of 75 or more.”
The U.S. Women’s Open is not a co-sponsored LPGA event, according to the LPGA, and the Evian Masters is not a domestic event.
Though the $336,472 Thompson won would rank her 29th on the LPGA money list this week if she were a member, her non-member earnings as calculated by the LPGA would only amount to $21,632.
Calculating non-member earnings that way, Thompson would rank 129th on this week’s money list. It’s meaningful because non-members who would fall within the top 80 of the tour’s money list at year’s end are eligible for tour membership.
The non-member money calculation is potentially significant with Thompson looking more and more like she will petition for tour membership and a waiver of the LPGA’s rule that requires members be at least 18 years. Thompson’s agent, however, says it would have no impact on Thompson’s plans as he explores the possibility of a creatively designed petition.
“How they calculate non-member money winnings is really irrelevant,” said Bobby Kreusler of Blue Giraffe Sports. “The [$336,472] is a measurement of what she’s done against world-class players. To say you are not going to consider the money she won at the U.S. Women’s Open and Evian is ludicrous. If you’re trying to measure where she stands, you have to consider what she’s done against the best players in the world. You can argue the U.S. Women’s Open and the Evian Masters are the two best women’s events in the world with the best fields.”
While Kreusler stops short of saying Thompson will, in fact, petition for a waiver, signs strongly point to a filing before year’s end. Kreusler said how the LPGA calculates non-member money winnings wouldn’t impact his efforts as he explores a petition he hints would be different from any the tour’s ever seen.
“Lexi’s performances are her performances,” Kreusler said. “I’m not going to get into the intricacies of the LPGA’s rules. Honestly, some of the rules are so archaic as to be funny. Not counting the U.S. Women’s Open and Evian Masters, it’s beyond my comprehension. This young girl’s proven she can compete against the best players in the world.”
Whether Thompson would have to attend Q-School if granted a waiver is among issues that remain unclear. Thompson did not attend sectional qualifiers this fall. Again, Kreusler said a uniquely designed petition may be in the works.
LPGA spokeswoman Heather Daly-Donofrio said Friday that the tour wouldn’t be able to address details of Thompson’s petition for a waiver until she actually petitioned.