Lexi Thompson’s caddie details Sunday-night scramble to retrieve her passport

July 31, 2019
Lexi Thompson Benji Thompson

Lexi Thompson made headlines earlier this week when it was revealed that nearly 40 players missed out on a Monday practice round because their golf bags were delayed when the caddie transporting them from France to England stopped for several hours to allow Lexi’s caddie to retrieve her passport, which she left in her golf bag.

Lexi spoke to reporters at the Women’s British Open on Wednesday, and was regretful for her role in the chaos. “I can’t apologize enough,” Thompson said of the incident. “I didn’t realize I was going to cause so much delay with the bags for other players.”

It turns out that the Sunday night passport ordeal was even more dramatic than many previously thought. Benji Thompson, Lexi’s caddie, gave a full explanation to the Caddie Network of how the night transpired.

“I got a text from Lexi around 9 o’clock Sunday night saying, ‘Dude we might not get outta here,'” Benji told TCN.

“I was at the hotel down in Geneva and she was still in Evian. I texted back and forth with Lexi and her dad for about an hour trying to figure out the options and how to get the passports back to them quickly. The best option, I thought, was for me to travel and get them at the course on Monday and either fly back with them or FedEx them. Somehow, Lexi’s dad, Scott, got in touch with the driver and he said he was about an hour south of the Geneva airport.

“My flight was at 7:20 a.m. on Monday, and the 5:15 a.m. shuttle bus was picking me and my caddie buddies up. After speaking with the front desk and a cab driver, and making sure they took American Express, I was on my way around 10:45 p.m. Sunday night. I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep and my only thought as a caddie was, ‘my player needs me and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the job done.'”

Unfortunately for Benji, the cab driver took an unexpected detour about three miles from the meeting point with clubs’ driver, Ian Wright, who was waiting at a gas station.

“Our 28-mile drive had turned into about an hour and a half after we left the hotel,” Benji said. “We pulled up and Ian had about five golf bags and three pieces of clothing luggage outside of the van on the ground. He’s a little older and it had taken a toll on him, and, hey, this wasn’t his problem or job to do. I immediately knew this was about to be a nightmare of a task to get to her travel golf bag. After I cleared the area, I started pulling these bags off and getting them out of the way. No wonder the players and caddies who used this service didn’t have anything with them when they arrived in London (It was all in the heavy-ass golf bag traveling cases)! Once I got about 30-40 bags out, I saw Lexi’s on the bottom, and cha-ching! I knew where the passports were and was able to dig down and get them out. I made sure I had both of them and put them in my pocket.”

Benji and Wright then had the unenviable task of getting all the bags back in the truck, fit in just so. With the help of the van driver and the cabbie, they somehow managed — and Benji finally got back to his hotel, passports in hand. He said his boss would handle the $300 cab bill, no problem.

“All I can say for myself, Lexi and Scott is that we are very sorry for the delay that we caused everyone. We never even thought it would delay Ian and cause all of this trouble. I’m sure that every player in the field would have been trying to do the same thing that we were. If you don’t have your passport you can’t leave, and at the time all we were trying to do was track down the passports!”

You can read the complete account here. The first round of the Women’s British Open begins on Thursday.

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