BETHESDA, Md. – Lexi Thompson stepped up to the mic after a 70’s third round at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and joked about how brown her arms were. Thompson, who seemingly always wears a sleeveless polo shirt with bare arms regardless of the temperatures, noted that the sunscreen she had applied this week was clearly not working. It must have been tanning oil instead, she said with a laugh.
When Thompson met the media on Saturday afternoon, she smiled, she was light-hearted, she laughed and told jokes. It was as if a heavy burden had been lifted from her tanned shoulders.
Thompson has worn her share of heartbreak in major championships, has gone on the LPGA Tour without a win since 2019, and has come painfully close to a five top 10 win by midway through this season. Now Thompson seems to be waving a white flag of surrender. Not that she doesn’t want to win anymore, but that she’s tired of fighting herself to get one.
“Being hard on myself got me nowhere,” Thompson said at the Congressional Country Club, the site of the third major championship of the season. “If I have a bad day, it’s not the end of the world. Still a blessing to be right here. I’ve been through a few things in my life lately, and it’s like — I’m just thankful to be here.”
Thompson’s grandmother, Dorothy Fischi, passed away the week before the US Women’s Open in May. Perspective is everything, and the loss of her grandmother has had an impact on Thompson’s prospects, especially in the majors.
“I’ve been playing golf for so long it seems like, but I’d say I was — focus isn’t the right word, just hard on myself in majors. I have to do this well and so well,” Thompson said of her changed attitude. “It’s just a matter of coming here and trusting the process, knowing I’ve worked hard for it. And when it happens, great. If it doesn’t, there’s not much else I can do. “
Unbeknownst to Thompson, who says she no longer looks at leaderboards in an effort to focus strictly on her own game and emotions on the golf course, she ran off the course five strokes behind leader In Gee Chun. But after Chun made a double bogey at the par-5 16th, Thompson is just three behind Chun in a tie for third en route to the final lap.
“It’s something I don’t even want to think about,” Thompson said of the prospect of playing in the latter group. “I’m going to play tomorrow like I’ve done for the last three days. Relaxed play, free play and just focus on my game.”
Thompson’s beloved grandmother, whom she called Mimi, was not only her biggest fan, but also a feisty one. On Sunday, Thompson will rely on Mimi’s advice if she wants to file a Sunday indictment that would earn her a third major championship and one that would make her Mimi proud.
“Go get them, go for it,” Thompson imagines, Mimi would tell her before Sunday’s final round. “She was my biggest supporter. It gives me the drive to be here and do it for her.”