ANA Inspiration offers Lexi Thompson a chance for redemption
Golf365 looks forward to the year’s first major championship as Lexi Thompson heads back to Rancho Mirage and the scene of last year’s infamous debacle.
The first major of the 2018 LPGA Tour is preparing for take off on Thursday as the top players in ladies golf gather at the Mission Hills Country Club in California for the ANA Inspiration.
While LPGA officials will be hoping for an exciting finish to this year’s tournament, they will be wanting to avoid the controversy of last year that saw Lexi Thompson denied a victory after she was penalised four strokes in the middle of her final round following a telephone call from a TV viewer over a rules infraction.
Thompson, who was leading by two strokes at the time, suddenly found herself two off the lead. And although she valiantly fought back with three birdies in the last six holes to make a play-off, she eventually lost out to South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon at the first extra hole.
Major step forward for golf today: No more viewer call-ins for rules violations beginning in 2018. Hallelujah.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) December 11, 2017
The rules may have been changed since that fateful day to ensure there are no such repeats, but that came as little consolation to Thompson, who missed out on a second major after winning the same tournament three years earlier.
A weaker person could have crumbled and let such an unprecedented controversy ruin their career, so much credit is due to the 23-year old Floridian for the way she fought back in the aftermath.
In fact, she got back on the winning trail just weeks later at May’s Kingsmill Championship and followed that up with another title at the Indy Women in Tech championship in September.
Second place at the year-ending CME Championship also secured her the Race to the CME Globe and its $1 million bonus, while Thompson also claimed the Vare Trophy for the season’s best scoring average.
ANA aside, it was a pretty successful season.
She has carried her good form into 2018, racking up T6, T2 and T31 finishes in three of four starts.
Now, Thompson arrives at Mission Hills looking for redemption on a course that suits her game. With a win, 7th, 5th and second place finishes in the last four years there is no reason to doubt that she will be in contention again at the weekend, while the motivation is unquestionably there.
What better way to wash away all those bad memories than a Sunday jump into the water.
By Richard Hazeldine
Padraig Harrington: Bryson DeChambeau has stolen the glory and the thunder
Padraig Harrington says Bryson DeChambeau’s successful power game is going to shape the future of golf.
Bernard Gallacher and Sam Torrance relive 1995 Ryder Cup moments
This Thursday marks 25 years since Europe won the Ryder Cup on American soil in sensational fashion.
US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau ‘changing the way people think about the game’
The 27-year-old was the only player to break par on a demanding final day.
5 things you might not know about US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau
DeChambeau can sign his autograph backwards with his left hand.
Bryson DeChambeau savours ‘blood, sweat and tears’ US Open triumph
The American won by six shots from compatriot Matthew Wolff.
Bryson DeChambeau wins US Open with Winged Foot masterclass
The American finished six shots clear of compatriot Matthew Wolff,
Rory McIlroy unravels within minutes as Winged Foot bears its teeth
The four-time major winner found the fairway and green in regulation on the opening hole, but then four-putted from 90 feet.
Distance debate set to roll on as errant drives fail to derail US Open hopefuls
Only two players had finished under par in five previous US Opens at Winged Foot.