Lexi Thompson’s so called ‘slump’ is a first world problem and in golfing terms it isn’t really anything to be overly concerned about.
Still, one of golf’s leading stars is set to lose her LPGA Tour status but remarkably she could hold on to her Team USA Solheim Cup place next month.
Thompson isn’t the only high-profile American to suffer a fall from grace with Rickie Fowler missing out on the FedEx Cup playoffs two years ago while Justin Thomas narrowly missed out by the literal width of a flagstick this season.
Thompson, the girl-wonder after Michelle Wie has largely unfulfilled her immense potential despite winning a major title.
Still, the American is without a win on the LPGA Tour since June 2019 and while only the top-60 make it to the CME Group Tour Championship she is ranked a lowly 157 in the Race to CME Globe.
The top-60 qualify for the Tour Championship, the top-80 earn a full LPGA Tour card while the top-100 still maintain status for some tournaments.
However, Thompson has missed three major championship cuts, her best major finish is T47 in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She has also made just eight LPGA Tour starts.
In terms of form and competitive sharpness, Lexi seems well off the pace in terms of turning her season around to maintain her LPGA Tour rights.
Ranked as high as 6th in the Rolex World Rankings this year, Thompson has slipped to 21st – not a reason for alarm bells to be ringing.
Should she maintain this ranking she would still qualify for the USA Solheim Cup team for Finca Cortesin this September. The top-7 points earners qualify while the following two leading players in the world rankings make up the top-9 before three wildcard picks are announced by captain Stacy Lewis.
Thompson would be the leading American not already qualified in the world rankings ahead of Rose Zhang.
As far as having a full LPGA Tour card for next season, Lexi has the option of using a one-time exemption for being inside the top-20 on the career money list, but at just 28-years-old that seems a bit hasty.
A cool customer at the best of times, Lexi isn’t too worried about her form.
“You shouldn’t read too much into that,” Thompson told Golf Digest last week. “I’ve just been trying to enjoy my life and take some more time for myself. This is my 13th year out here, so it’s my choice to play when I want, and when I don’t want to. I was dealing with a little bit of an injury. But I’m fully healthy now. I want to be sure I’m fully ready when I do tee it up.”
Zach Johnson faces a similar dilemma over whether to hand a wildcard pick to Thomas.
JT’s case has not been helped by the resurgence of Lucas Glover who despite his sweaty arse seems to have found an ice cool touch on and around the greens which have helped him to back-to-back PGA Tour wins and climb inside the top-30 in the world.
Thomas agonisingly missed out on the FedEx Cup playoffs in the regular season ending Wyndham Championship which took his hopes of making the US team out of his hands.
His inactivity on the DP World Tour is an interesting one
“That’s hurt me all year. I mean, I want to make the Ryder Cup team so bad. I mean, it’s so important to me. I mean, I legitimately would rather make the Ryder Cup than the Playoffs, which is really, really messed up to say, but it’s the truth,” Thomas shared before the final round of the Wyndham.
“I think that’s why I played so poorly the last month and a half or two months. Like it’s just I’m putting so much pressure on myself to play well, it’s very similar to what happened to me in 2016. I felt like I started to try so hard at the end of the year when if I just would have kept doing what I was doing and trust my ability and my talent, then it could have been good enough. Hopefully I learn from my mistake and play well tomorrow and just see what happens,” Thomas said.