Lexi Thompson has had a very, very quiet, very unimpressive season.
She hasn’t even played that much this year — just 13 times and it is now mid-August.
There are no wins in her column either.
She’s won a paltry $616,000 and change, low even by LPGA pay standards.
She’s back this week in Indianapolis. She had to be, she’s the defending champion at the Indy Women In Technology event. She had to come back, even if she was reluctant.
And wow, does she sound reluctant. You can add unsure, uncertain, maybe confused to the adjectives that might describe her current emotional state.
She’s been away for a month. Last time we saw her was at the Marathon Classic in early July. She left with a pedestrian tie for 38th and a sore hand.
Add some mental confusion in there and yes, Lexi Thompson decided a retreat was in order.
She sounded pretty fragile when she spoke Wednesday up in Indy:
“It was honestly just a buildup,” Thompson said. “The last year and a half, I have honestly been struggling a lot, emotionally, and it’s hard because I can’t really show it. It was just so much to deal with, and I had to show that I was still OK and still play golf. 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. I would say it’s just figuring out what really makes me happy off the golf course, as well, figuring myself out,” Thompson said. “I have transformed myself around this game for such a long time, ever since I was 5 years old.”
Welcome to the mind of a golf prodigy.
As cool as it sounds, it’s not all it’s built up to be.
Fame, money, fans, praise, criticism — it’s all part of the celebrity package and make no mistake, with her power game, nine wins and model-looks — Lexi Thompson is a celebrity at age 23.
She’s also fragile, shaken by her mother’s cancer battle, shaken by some strange happenings on the course last year.
Those who know her will tell you she is very determined, very strong.
But maybe that toughness can also harbor self-doubt.
“You can only stay strong for so long and hide it,” Thompson said. “I am a very strong person, but at times you just need a break. It’s still a work in progress,” she said of her mental state. “I truly love being home and around my family and friends. I really enjoy that time. Even if it’s two days, I get the most of it. Just being home and being a regular person, it’s nice.”
And there’s another problem. Very often celebrities simply want to have that “regular person” time but the more exposure they get, the more they win, the more television time they get, the tougher “regular” time becomes.
There’s also the weight of being a sports prodigy. She was heading for fame by age 12.
“That’s what I grew up knowing,” she confessed. “Didn’t know much different.”
This inner struggle also caused her to skip a major championship — the British Open.
“I never want to skip that event,” she said looking back. “It’s just a very prestigious event. But with how I was, just mentally and emotionally, I wasn’t ready to compete there. I was struggling with my game. Besides that, I was just struggling with myself.”
Which brings us to this week, this day.
Golf is not the best environment when you are, as Lexi put it “struggling with myself.”
She spoke to some professionals in her off time about her struggles.
Life isn’t always what it seems.
Lexi Thompson has a rare golf talent, a big game, huge bank accounts, fast cars, good looks and a loving family.
Yes, it certainly looks like she has it all.
But then again, in life, looks can indeed be very deceiving.
Editor’s Note: Lexi got off to a good start Thursday with a four-under par 68 but she was still six back of leader Lizette Salas, who shot a career round of 62.