Since her exchange with a reporter at the Solheim Cup went viral, Lexi Thompson has been the topic of much discussion and scrutiny. Golf pundits and fans have been weighing in with their opinions on whether the criticism she has faced is justified or if she has been unfairly treated. In my opinion, there have been several instances where Lexi has been scrutinized far differently than her peers.
One such example is the 2022 KPMG PGA Championship, where Thompson held a two-stroke lead with three holes to play but ultimately lost the tournament. Afterward, she was fined $2,000 for slow play, along with the rest of her group. When she declined to speak to the media, she faced backlash on social media. However, it is not uncommon for golfers to skip media sessions following disappointment on the course. Tiger Woods, for example, skipped back-to-back post-round media briefings in 2019 without facing the same level of backlash.
Another incident that drew attention was when Thompson played golf with Donald Trump. While many big-name golfers have played with the former president, Thompson received criticism for it and even took herself off social media after a photo of their round was posted. The double standard in how this was perceived compared to other golfers is evident.
In the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Thompson missed a 6-foot eagle putt on her opening hole but still led by five strokes. She ultimately lost the tournament and was criticized by Brandel Chamblee for her putting performance. While Chamblee’s comments may have been honest, no other LPGA golfer has been subjected to the same level of criticism from him.
The incident at the 2023 Solheim Cup, where Thompson declined to comment on a failed shot, also garnered significant attention. Some saw it as yet another example of the golf media targeting Thompson, but in reality, it was the reaction from golf fans to the viral clip that created the furore. Thompson went on to win her next two matches, collecting three points for the U.S. team, but that achievement seemed to go unnoticed in the midst of the controversy.
Lastly, the comments on Thompson’s Instagram posts regarding her putting practice have been aggressive and alarming. Despite her consistently showing her dedication to improving her game, she is still accused of neglecting her putting. This dynamic is not seen to the same extent with other golfers.
When you add these incidents to the scandalous rules decision at the 2017 ANA Inspiration that cost Thompson a major title, it becomes clear that she has had a bit of a raw deal compared to her peers. It is important to consider these instances and question whether the criticism Thompson faces is truly justified or if there is an unfair double standard at play.