Lexi Thompson, who skipped the Ricoh Women's British Open during her month-long hiatus, returns to competition this week in Indianapolis.
Lexi Thompson says her month-long “mental break” from golf was not triggered by any new event, but it was a respite she needed to deal with the cumulative struggle that came from trying to show strength and “hide” the emotional pain she felt in the challenges she faced last year.
Thompson opened up in a heartfelt fashion Wednesday in her return to the game at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, where she is the defending champion.
“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.”
Thompson, 23, was candid about the challenges she has faced as a golf prodigy, telling reporters she spent some of her break from the game speaking to therapists about building a life that isn’t all about her golf.
“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.”
Thompson said she has always poured herself into the game, into practice and training.
“That's what I grew up knowing,” she said. “Didn't know much different.
“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.”
Thompson qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open when she was 12, the youngest player at the time to do so. She won the U.S. Girls’ Junior at 13, won her first LPGA title at 16 and her first major at 19.