PGA Tour player Peter Malnati quickly retracts statement after calling Lexi Thompson’s exemption a ‘gimmick’

by Joanne Miller

Peter Malnati, a member of the PGA Tour policy board, has been vocal about his thoughts on various topics related to the golfing world. Recently, he shared his opinion on the decision to grant LPGA star Lexi Thompson an exemption into the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas.

Malnati wasn’t fully convinced that Thompson’s exemption was necessary, stating that it seemed like a move by the tournament to generate interest. However, he did acknowledge Thompson’s skills and athleticism, noting that distance wouldn’t be a problem for her.

The 36-year-old golfer admitted that his initial reaction to the news was that the tournament was reaching to create a buzz. He mentioned that he understood the motive behind such a decision, but wasn’t sure if it was the right approach.

Malnati also made a statement that landed him in hot water. He commented that tournaments shouldn’t resort to gimmicks to attract attention because he believed that the events themselves would be meaningful enough. However, he later retracted his statement, clarifying that he didn’t mean to imply that having Thompson play was a gimmick.

The PGA Tour policy board member emphasized that change is difficult for everyone at every level, including tournament organizers. With the fall season completely reimagined, host organizations are uncertain about what to expect. Despite the uncertainty, Malnati expressed his optimism and predicted that the fall season would be a success.

As a full-time member of the LPGA since 2014, Thompson has achieved remarkable success, including 15 professional wins and a major championship. Malnati acknowledged her accomplishments and recognized the potential for her participation in the Shriners Children’s Open to garner attention and headlines.

Ultimately, Malnati believed that Thompson’s presence in the tournament could have positive outcomes for both the player and the event. Regardless of her performance, he emphasized that Thompson is a professional golfer deserving of a spot in the field.

Malnati himself is participating in the Sanderson Farms Championship and is familiar with the challenges and excitement of playing in high-profile tournaments. Having won the tournament in 2015 and finishing as the runner-up in 2020, Malnati is the only player to achieve both honors since the event’s relocation in 2015.

It’s important to note that this article originally appeared on GolfWeek and highlights Malnati’s perspective on the matter. As with any controversy or differing opinions within the world of sports, it’s a reflection of the diverse viewpoints and ongoing discussions in the golfing community.

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