What sparked my golf interest this past week wasn't the race for the FedEx Cup at the BMW Championship but some long ball action involving 16 year old Alexis Thompson over on the LPGA Tour and a fellow Canadian, Jamie Sadlowski a two-time Re/Max World Long Drive champion making his Nationwide Tour debut. One golfers outcome on Sunday was history making the others more of a learning experience.
What were you doing at age 16? This past Sunday, Lexi won the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic by five strokes becoming the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, by about two years. Lexi Thompson over the course of four days at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama drove the ball around the golf course with grace, tempo, length (280 yd. drives) and a form that most golf mortals can only dream of. The sky is the limit for this young golfer but she's still not an LPGA member even with her win. The tour has a minimum-age requirement of 18 and Lexi is only 16. So what's going to happen. Speculation is circulating after yesterday Golf Channel announcement that Thompson withdrew from next week's second-stage qualifying tournament (she won the first stage tourney by 10 strokes). It looks like Thompson will forgo Q-School and plans to now petition the LPGA to waive its minimum-age requirement and grant her membership. That petition, according to speculation, is expected to specify membership in 2012, not immediate membership, which will make Mike Whan the LPGA commissioner one happy camper. He'll certainly give Lexi membership next year it's a no brainer. The petition is a mere formality. Whan has been resistant to giving Thompson a waiver while she's still 16 years old. The LPGA' definitely seems committed to their minimum age requirement 16 still to young but 17 they've made exceptions before(Aree Song and Morgan Pressel), it doesn't want to cross the 16-year-old barrier just yet. With only a hand full of tournaments left in the LPGA season one (CME Group Titleholders in Orlando Nov. 17-20) of which Lexi is already in because of her win. Thompson is going to be a member of the LPGA Tour in 2012, and the LPGA will be able to protect its minimum-age requirement. So in 2012 the LPGA will get their rising star
So support Lexi Thompson bid for membership through her sponsor Puma-Cobra Golf who has started a "Let Lexi Play" campaign, complete with its own Twitter hashtag #LetLexiPlay. The goal? Get Lexi Thompson her LPGA Tour card without making her go through Q-School. I know I've already used it on Twitter posting videos of Lexi's slow motion swing. So show her some support and we'll be seeing more of her long drives next season on the LPGA Tour.
Now the second long drives I was interested in checking out were that of fellow Canadian Jamie Sadlowski who was making his Nationwide Tour debut at the Boise Open. Jamie a two-time Re/Max World Long Drive champion obviously hits a long ball but how would he stack up to actual Pros during a tournament. Sadlowski's high-end clubhead spead is 148 mph, and his peak ball velocity is 215 mph. This is a guy who hits hybrids into drivable par 4s. Everyone loves to see the ball go far but how would the short game hold up. After rounds of 73 and 66 Jamie faded on the weekend with scores of 73 and 75 and he ended up finishing DFL with D.J. Brigman. Jamie led the field in driving average at 349.8 yards. Who was #2 well that was the eventually winner of the Boise Open Jason Kokrak who averaged a poultry 343.6 yards in driving distance.
I'm thinking Jason Kokrak and Lexi Thompson had some great short game to go along with those towering drives. Enough said!