Another top player in hot water for playing golf with Trump

LPGA star Lexi Thompson has revealed she is taking a break from social media after being bombarded by negative comments for playing golf with President Donald Trump.

The 24-year-old joined Trump and conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh for a round of golf at Trump International Golf Club in Florida over Easter, and has been the subject of negative and hurtful comments ever since the White House posted photos of the event to social media.

“Hey everybody, just want to say I will be taking a break from social media. If I post it will be from my management team for me,” the 10-time LPGA champion wrote on Instagram. “I’m too involved with it, and to read some of the hurtful things being said to me lately isn’t fair and I’m not dealing with it. Thank you to my true fans out there I will be back on but I’m going to be focusing on me right now and my life. Thanks for understanding.”

This is not the first time Thompson has played golf with Trump. Back in 2017 she explained to Golf Digest she was totally apolitical.

“I’m not into politics, so honestly I can’t even ask him anything,” she said at the time.

Some of her fellow LPGA stars have rushed to Thompson’s defence, knowing full well how emotionally taxing it is to be the subject of a social media storm.

“You can live every day of your life in a certain way and then simply by an accusation, all of that’s gone? That’s not fair,” said Amy Olson, who found herself in a similar position after a controversy in Thailand earlier this year when some users on social media accused her of bending the rules to her advantage following a “back-stopping” incident involving playing partner Ariya Jutanugarn.

Olson never shut down her social media but had to stop looking at it for several days to allow the controversy to blow over.

But even when there aren’t controversies or dates with Donald Trump involved, the pressure can be relentless.

“I looked at the comments that have been on Lexi’s posts,” Olson added. “It’s horrible. She can’t post anything. If she posts her putting, it’s ‘You should be working on your swing.’ If she’s in the gym, ‘You should be practicing.’ If she’s on the beach, ‘You should play more.’ There’s always something to criticize.”

Meanwhile, LPGA veteran Cristie Kerr can still remember what life was like before the pressures of social media entered the picture, and said she was thankful she got to experience the first half of career without it.

“Even though I’ve won 20 times, 21 with a Euro tour victory, I don’t consider myself one of the popular golfers out here,” said Kerr. “It is a bit of a glamour contest in some respects.

“The society wants that now. A lot of girls out here feel like they need to chase that, like they have to be uber-sexy, can’t just be a golfer, athlete, mom kind of persona. You have to become this other thing.”

With Trump’s proximity to the golfing world and his long history with the game and it’s top players – many of whom hail from so-called “red” states – Thompson isn’t the first player to receive backlash for associating with the current president, and she’s unlikely to be the last.

Even Tiger Woods has had to deflect criticism for refusing to cut his links with Trump after he became president.

“I’ve known Donald for a number of years,” Woods said after pictures of him playing golf with Trump were also shared on social media. “We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.

“He’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office.”

Woods’ comments drew praise from Trump himself, so don’t be surprised if the POTUS also weighs in on the controversy surrounding Thompson.

“The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say. Tiger wouldn’t play the game – he is very smart,” Trump said at the time.