June 9, 2019
THE MODERATOR: We're here with the 2019 winner Lexi Thompson. We just exited the course. A long, long day for you. What's going through your mind?
LEXI THOMPSON: It was a very long day. At first when you see twosomes on Sunday, you're like, ooh, we'll be done in four hours, a little bit more, but then we got to the golf course today and it was blowing 20 to 30 plus, and I was like, okay, it might be a little bit longer of a day.
But this golf course, that's how I kind of remember it. It gets super windy out here because it's very open and not too many trees can block the wind.
It was a long day. It was just a matter of trusting my shots out there and really committing to my lines and just keeping it below the wind, but I knew there was going to be holes that were going to play really tough and I could possibly bogey, but I knew at the same time that there were birdie holes out there, so I just tried to stay patient.
THE MODERATOR: The highlight of your round has got to be on the 18th, that eagle there. Just take us through what was going through your mind and what the strategy was.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, that was definitely my highlight. I got chills; like my hair on my arms was like sticking up once I made that putt. I hit a 3-wood off the tee because I didn't hit driver all day today just to keep my 3-wood lower in the wind, and I hit it in the left rough and I kind of had a little sketchy lie so I knew it was going to jump, and then it was blowing 30 miles per hour downwind, and I had 190 to the front, 200 pin, and it's crazy to think about all the numbers that we were thinking about, but we were like, land it 30 yards short, so 160, and then with a jumper lie and then the wind I ended up hitting a pitching wedge, which is my 135 club, from 190. Ended up, I guess, landing 50 yards short and rolling up there.
Like I said, it was all a matter of really trusting shots today, especially out of the rough, because with the crosswinds and everything, you could definitely hit it in the rough out there.
THE MODERATOR: As you were going through the course today, this entire weekend it's been a packed leaderboard. Were you looking at them as you were coming up on the 18th?
LEXI THOMPSON: Honestly, the first leaderboard I looked at was No. 17, and it was by accident. I was reading my putt, and it was like right in the line, and then I saw that I was up there, I'm like, ooh, all right.
THE MODERATOR: What did you think when you were that close?
LEXI THOMPSON: I was like, I probably shouldn't have looked in that direction. I still had like a 20-, 25-footer, but it was like a pretty easy putt. It didn't have too much break on it, so I'm like, ooh, I can make this, I can get this putt in for birdie, and then the last hole being a birdie or possibly eagle. I just really tried to erase it from my mind and just keep focus on playing aggressive and try to make that putt.
THE MODERATOR: We talked about this earlier in the week, but this tournament, a lot of history with you rolling up in 2010 with the Red Bull NASCAR race car and now winning the 11th time on the LPGA Tour. What does this tournament mean to you and what does today mean to you?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it means the world to me to get this win here. I made my pro debut here in 2010 coming into the tournament with a NASCAR, and it was so many great memories, making my pro debut here. I didn't play great the first year I was here. Haven't had too many successes here, honestly, and to come out this year, I knew I was playing well coming into the event, and I always know that it can get very windy out there, so it's all a matter of just controlling your ball flight, really playing for the bounce-out, and being calm on those greens because even though it's that windy, it can affect putts, as well. Just to get this win here, there's a lot of great memories, not only 2010 but now 2019.
THE MODERATOR: The crowds out here today, just spectacular the entire weekend. Did that help your confidence, or was it a little bit more pressure for you?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, coming into the week, even starting Friday, there were huge crowds. I was very surprised. I teed off in the morning on Friday and there was a great amount of people out there, which we want to see. We want to see the game growing and just to see that amount of people out here supporting women's golf and just supporting the game in general, us players, we really want to see that. The more people the better. I really thrive off people cheering and just feeling good.
Even if I struggled early, they were picking me up, saying, You've got this, come on, you can come back, and just to hear that support, it does help out tremendously.
Q. Lexi, I know you didn't look at any leaderboards, but after your bogey at 15, you were two down. Was there any thought in your mind that you may have been two down and finishing birdie, par, eagle obviously did the job, but what were your thoughts walking off 15 green?
LEXI THOMPSON: 15, that was such a brutal hole this week. Straight into the wind. It was 180 to the front of the green, and I believe like 198 to that pin, and I hit a great shot, and I was not expecting it to come up that short. Hit a great putt up there to about six feet and just didn't make it. But overall, I looked at it as it wasn't like a bad bogey. I hit a great shot, I hit a great putt up there, and maybe just pushed my second putt just a touch.
I just really tried to find the positives in it because I knew coming in there was birdie holes and there was gettable holes. If I let it affect me, I wouldn't have finished the way I did. And at that point I didn't know where I was position-wise. I kind of thought I was behind for sure, especially being at 9. I figured I was a few back.
Q. How much does your experience help on a day like today with the conditions as they were with the wind and determining club selection and yardages and all those kind of things? How does your experience factor into making all those calculations?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, today was tough. It was probably the most I've thought into shots distance-wise, with the wind and then lines and then where you have to carry and the amount of bounce-out because a lot of the greens do have run-ups that you can run some shots up if you do get in the rough or if there's shots downwind that you have to land short. There was a lot more thinking, like more thought process in these last few days into my shots, which I'm not so used to. In Florida the greens are soft, you can usually land it within five yards short, and it's fine, it just stops there. It was definitely different, but I learned a lot. That's what's great about the game; you always learn.
Q. You had some adversity with the putter yesterday. How did you sort of stay confident, stay mentally strong, keep yourself on track through those moments?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, you know putting. It's just like golf, it's crazy, a crazy game, and it can happen. What happened on 1 yesterday, I just think I kind of rushed my second putt, and then I actually didn't hit a bad third putt, and then it just lipped out. I knew I was stroking it well and I was hitting good putts. Maybe not that hole, but the whole few days. So I really just tried to stay positive with it. I knew I was rolling it well as long as I committed to my lines and really just focused on my speed and -- I've put so much work into my putting and then changing to the claw, it's been a lot different. But I'm feeling very comfortable with it.
Q. How important was a good start today? You birdied the first hole. Was that part of your mindset, to get off to a really good start, four birdies in the first nine holes? Pretty good playing.
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, thank you. Coming in, 1 is a shorter hole, but still, with the amount of wind that was into and a little bit of cross, it's important to just get it in that fairway, then it's easier from there. But at the same time I was really just like get it in the fairways and then make your pars because 1 and 2 are kind of -- you can birdie 1, obviously, but 2, if you walk off with a par on 2, you're smiling. And then you turn around at 3 and it's a reachable par-5 and then you can get at that. Like I said, there's a few holes on each side that you can definitely birdie and take advantage of, but at the same time there's possible bogey holes, as well, so if you do make pars on those, you can really go for those birdie ones.
Q. You talked about growing the game; what role do you see yourself playing in growing the game?
LEXI THOMPSON: What role do I see? Well, coming into the game, I just -- I really just wanted to grow the game in general, just leave it in a better place than it was when I first started. For myself, I just want -- I love seeing little kids out there supporting the game and just following us. They don't know how you're playing. I could shoot 6-over and they're like, great playing, and I'm like, oh, my gosh, no. But they're so cute, and it's just like they make the sport -- fans, if it wasn't for the fans, the game wouldn't be the same. It's because of the fans that I made it through adversity a few years ago and that I'm still chugging along and just looking at the positives and everything, and I just really do want to grow the game. I want to see little kids picking up a club at a younger age, and I think that's what's great about so many of the golf programs that are coming up now.
I think it's a great opportunity just for these kids to learn a lot about themselves, and it is a great game.
Q. Obviously you had a lot of success as an amateur, which is why you turned pro at 15. But when you look back on that day, that week, what do you remember about, gee, I have a lot to learn, this is another level, or was that not part of the equation at all?
LEXI THOMPSON: What day?
Q. The week you came here first as a 15 year old.
LEXI THOMPSON: Oh, I was like -- sorry, I was lost. My first week as a professional you're saying?
Yeah, well, my last tournament as an amateur was the Curtis Cup, and that's the highest level team event that you can possibly get into, and that was such a huge honor to be there, and I was like, okay, I want to finish my amateur career playing in this event representing my country. And I thought this was just a great event, Red Bull and my other sponsors, they really helped out with the whole NASCAR feel of it, so they came up with this great idea of coming into this event in a NASCAR and jump out of it to the clubhouse.
You know, it was a great week memories-wise. Obviously I didn't want to my potential, but there was a lot to learn, and I knew coming out here that I needed to work on my game and what I needed to improve on. I think that's what we kind of learn every day that we tee it up. We learn a lot about ourselves but also what we need to improve on and what we need to keep working on.
Q. Seven straight years with a victory now, and along the way, life has thrown a lot of curve balls at you. That resiliency that you've shown, that must make you feel pretty proud?
LEXI THOMPSON: It does. You know, I've definitely been through a lot, but a lot of people have. I've been through a lot on and off the golf course, and I think, like I said earlier, the fans have truly helped me out a lot, not only them but my family and my support team that I have around me, they've helped me so much just to get me through everything. Really what my mom has gone through, seeing just her attitude in life has really opened up my eyes for things that I've been through. It's not that bad.
And if you still go through life with a positive attitude, you can get through anything. That has helped me out so much, and it has made me proud, just the way I've played with what I've been through and just the determination and just the hard working that I've put into it, just to see it pay off. It means so much.
Q. Is Leo here?
LEXI THOMPSON: He is. He's waiting in my hotel room now whenever I get back to it.
Q. Do you see yourself having the success you've had with the challenges you've faced as being able to inspire other people who are dealing with the same kinds of challenges?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well, I mean, honestly, I hope nobody has to go through what I did in 2017 with the few curve balls that were thrown at me. But I really just want to show people that you can get through anything that life throws at you. You just have to keep on pushing through it with a positive attitude and just keep going and not give up because if you do, life will get at you and you'll go downhill.
Obviously we're all human. We have emotions. We feel sad, depressed and everything with going through those things, but you have to be strong enough to get through things, and I think that's the most important thing to have the support team around you, the family, the friends, just to keep on picking you up and be there for you, and I think that's what helped me out the most.
THE MODERATOR: I think that's everything. Thank you again, Lexi, and once again, congratulations.
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