This is getting awkward!
The following statement was issued Sunday night by LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan following 16-year-old Lexi Thompson's historic win at the Navistar Classic.
We congratulate Lexi Thompson on her win today at the Navistar LPGA Classic which will qualify her for the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. Earlier this year, Lexi petitioned the LPGA to waive the age restriction limitation for an under-age professional to allow her the ability to earn LPGA membership via the three-stage 2011 LPGA Qualifying Tournament. The petition was approved, and as such, she went to Stage I Q-school, and via her performance there, she qualified to proceed to Stage II Q-school the week of September 26th at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida. Should Lexi qualify for LPGA membership via her Q-School performance, she will be an LPGA member for the 2012 season.
According to the LPGA's Twitter account, a follow up was in order:
A follow-up to Commissioner Whan's first statement: Lexi has the option to file a separate petition for LPGA membership. If she chooses to do so, the petition will be reviewed and a decision will be made at the sole discretion of the Commissioner.
In Ron Sirak's write-up of Thompson's amazing win, he notes what lies ahead for Whan and the Thompson family:
There is a chance the Thompson family could still petition Whan for an exception to the age rule -- a request he would be hard-pressed to deny. In the past, Whan has said he didn't want to take any action that could be perceived as encouraging kids to quit school to play golf.
Beth Ann Baldry breaks down the numbers and reveals just how incredible Thompson's performance was while also complimenting Whan for originally giving Thompson the chance to qualify through Q-School despite being two years under the LPGA age limit.
Thompson led the field in driving distance this week and wedged the field to death. She finished five strokes clear of rookie Tiffany Joh, who had one request from Thompson on Twitter before the final round: “Just don’t laugh at me as you walk 120 yards past my ball tomorrow, k? Thanks.”
Scott Thompson has caddied for Lexi throughout her career and said he “could’ve keeled over on every hole out there.” As Joh pulled within three strokes of Thompson on the back nine, Scott told his daughter that she could par in and still win.
“Nah, it’s on,” Lexi replied, as she nearly holed her tee shot on the 16th and drained another birdie putt for good measure on the 17th.
The shot on 16 was so impressive because Joh was making a move and had hit a brilliant shot within 10 feet or so, but Thompson's follow-up within a couple of feet was just too clutch.
**Randall Mell explains the various options before winners of LPGA Tour events over the age of 18, and why they are not available to Lexi Thompson. He also has this from her agent regarding the Commissioner's statement:
Shortly after the win, commissioner Mike Whan released a statement congratulating Thompson and pointing out that she was eligible to gain tour membership advancing through Q-School. One news organization termed it a “buzzkill.” The statement was a befuddling reminder that even confused Thompson’s agent. Kreusler wasn’t sure whether the tour really expected Thompson to continue to pursue Q-School.
“I need to speak to Mike Whan about what that statement meant,” Kreusler said. “He’s always been honest and transparent.”
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: The difference between Wie and Lexi is simple. Wie wanted to experience real life and go to a real college, Stanford. Lexi wanted to play pro golf, period. Lexi has the kind of power, like Wie, to dominate the women's tour. She seems more driven, too. If she continues to improve her short game and putting, she's got No. 1 potential. She's certainly going to be the No. 1 American woman player in short order.
Shipnuck: Wie has always been focused on technical precision and never really learned to win. Lexi grew up trying to beat her brothers. Their competitive makeup is very different.