As Spring and the rebirth that comes with it began in earnest in April, the LPGA experienced a beautiful month of its own.
The Tour could not have asked for a better or more newsworthy few weeks as a trio of young stars winning big to help keep the golfing world’s spotlight on the LPGA. It was a dream month for the Tour, one it can use to provide momentum going forward.
The month began with a storybook duel between 19-year-old Lexi Thompson and 24-year-old Michelle Wie, who battled down the stretch for the Tour’s first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Thompson’s stellar Sunday left her three strokes clear of Wie and gave the tall teen her fourth career LPGA win and maiden major triumph.
Thompson’s dip in Poppie’s Pond was much talked-about in the golf world, as the epically talented blonde claimed her first major championship and further cemented herself as one of the Tour’s top young stars. The fact that Wie herself was so close to winning a major helped magnify Thompson’s accomplishment and made the media salivate and revel in the storylines even more.
Speaking of storybook victories, two weeks later, Wie ended a four-year winless drought in her native Hawaii after playing superbly at the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. Local media and fans went wild for Wie’s emotional win, and once again the LPGA was in the forefront of the golf world’s microscope.
Then last week, as the Tour celebrated a new domestic event that wowed players and fans alike, Lydia Ko celebrated her 17th birthday with a one-stroke victory over 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco. The first-year pro won for the first time as a professional and claimed her third career LPGA victory just days after being named to TIME magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World” list.
That’s not a bad week for anyone, much less a teenager with a level head on her shoulders and an easy smile. With the win, Ko jumped to the No. 2 spot in the Rolex Women’s Golf World Rankings, a massive accomplishment and a sign that she one day soon may be the top-ranked player in the world.
Their tournament wins are just part of a trio of great seasons they are putting together, as all three are in the top six on the money list and top 15 in the world rankings. The youngsters’ potential is immense, and there’s little doubt they will be making headlines for many years to come.
That’s great for the Tour, for women’s golf and the game in general. Thompson, for one was thrilled to be part of the LPGA’s epic April.
“Well, it means a lot to me,” she said in her pre-tournament interview at the North Texas LPGA Shootout Presented by JTBC. “We’re all just trying to do our best out here, and I think we’ve had some really great winners already this year. Michelle is playing great this year, and obviously Lydia has been playing amazing the last few years that she’s been out here.
“But there’s such great competition out here, and I think any time somebody wins it’s a great honor to be in the headlines just all over the place. So, it’s busy, but I mean it’s well worth the ride.”
“I think it’s really great for the tour that Lexi won and great that Lydia won last week,” she said in Texas on Tuesday. “There’s just a lot of great storylines out there, and I’m just so happy that the LPGA is finally getting the attention that it deserves.”
Topics: Player Feature