Lexi Thompson is back on the golf course this week, and it isn’t her driver or putter that is at the forefront of her mind.
It is the mental side of life that Thompson continues to ponder as she returns to play in the Indy Women in Tech Championship starting Thursday at Indianapolis.
The tournament is the first in more than a month for the LPGA star, who withdrew from last month’s British Open due to the need to focus on herself.
The 23-year-old American simply felt she needed the time away from golf — from both a mental and emotional standpoint.
“I would say it’s just figuring out what really makes me happy off the golf course, as well, figuring myself out,” Thompson said at Wednesday’s press conference. “I have transformed myself around this game for such a long time, ever since I was 5 years old.”
The nine-time winner hasn’t posted a victory this season. In fact, her most recent title was at the Indianapolis event last season.
Overall, 2017 was a tough year for Thompson. Her mother, Judy, was battling uterine cancer, and there also was the controversial four-stroke penalty she received for incorrectly marking her ball at the ANA Inspiration. She was penalized one day after making the mistake at the major tournament.
Later in the season, Thompson missed a two-foot putt on the 18th hole at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship to wave good-bye to a potential victory.
Thompson said she is working with a therapist to deal with her personal struggles.
“It was honestly just a buildup,” Thompson said about her need for an emotional break. “The last year and a half, I have honestly been struggling a lot, emotionally, and it’s hard because I can’t really show it. It was just so much to deal with, and I had to show that I was still OK and still play golf.
“And I don’t even know how I played that well, honestly. And I think it just kind of all hit me coming into this year. You can only stay strong for so long and hide it. I am a very strong person, but at times you just need a break.”
Despite this year’s 13-tourney winless stretch, Thompson does have five top-10 finishes and is ranked fifth in the world.
“You just have to take the positive out of everything, realize that I have had a great year,” Thompson said. “I haven’t won, but I’m trying my best in every tournament, that’s all I can do.”
One thing Thompson has realized is simplistic in nature.
“I’m not just a robot out there,” she said. “I need to have a life.”
—Field Level Media