Lexi Thompson returns to competition: ‘I’m not just a robot out here. I need to have a life’

August 16, 2018

Lexi Thompson has been in the national public eye since she was at least 12 years old, when she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open, at the time setting a record as the youngest ever to do so. For most of her life, her identity has been largely defined by golf and her place in it. Now 23, Thompson says she’s ready to work on figuring out who she is away from the golf course.

The break she took from golf over the past few weeks — skipping the Women’s British Open in the process — was part of that work. “I would say it’s just figuring out what really makes me happy off the golf course, as well, figuring myself out,” she said ahead of the Indy Women in Tech Championship, where she will look to defend her title this week. “I was always a very determined person, and coming to this age, a little older, I realize I do need to make time for myself and enjoy life, because not a lot of 23-year-old girls are doing what I am. People need to realize that. I’m not just a robot out here. I need to have a life,” she said.

Thompson’s break came after a year of weathering both public controversy (a questionable rules decision with her at the center) and personal difficulty (her mother was diagnosed with cancer), while still trying to perform at the highest level. “It was just so much to deal with, and I had to show that I was still OK and still play golf,” she said. “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.”

lexi thompson
Lexi Thompson waves her ball on the 15th hole during the second round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in June 2018.