PGA Tour policy board member Peter Malnati received backlash for calling Lexi Thompson’s sponsor’s invitation into the upcoming PGA Tour event in Las Vegas a “gimmick.” However, he quickly walked back his statement and clarified his position.
Thompson, a professional golfer, received an invitation to participate in the Shriners Children’s Open, one of the FedExCup Fall events. These events are crucial for Tour players as they compete for 2024 status and signature event spots. The PGA Tour is returning to a calendar season starting next year, adding significance to these fall events.
When asked about Thompson’s invitation, Malnati initially referred to it as a gimmick. However, he later recognized that his comment was inappropriate and retracted it. He emphasized that the tournaments don’t need gimmicks to generate interest because the events themselves will have considerable meaning.
Malnati acknowledged that change is challenging for everyone involved, including host organizations, such as the Century Club and Wayne Sanderson Farms. The fall season has been completely reimagined, and there is uncertainty about what to expect. Despite this, Malnati expressed confidence in the success of these tournaments and anticipated a blockbuster hit. He believes that the upcoming events will attract attention and be successful even without additional attention-grabbing measures.
Regarding Thompson’s participation, Malnati acknowledged that her presence would attract headlines. As a professional athlete with numerous accomplishments, Thompson’s performance could contribute significantly to the event’s success. While the outcome is uncertain, Malnati emphasized that Thompson deserves her spot in the field as a professional golfer.
Thompson’s invitation marks her as the seventh woman to compete in a PGA Tour event and the first since Brittany Lincicome in 2018. This inclusion demonstrates the Tour’s commitment to promoting diversity and providing opportunities for female golfers to showcase their skills on a larger stage.
In conclusion, although Peter Malnati initially referred to Lexi Thompson’s invitation as a gimmick, he later clarified his statement, recognizing that the tournaments will have significant meaning without needing additional attention-grabbing tactics. Thompson’s inclusion in the upcoming PGA Tour event is a positive step toward promoting diversity and providing opportunities for female golfers to compete at the highest level.