LPGA: Why Michael Whan's Decision on Lexi Thompson Was a Good Call

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2011

MOBILE, AL - MAY 01:  Alexis Thompson waits on the 11th tee during the final round of the Avnet LPGA Classic at the Crossings Course at the Robert Trent Jones Trail at Magnolia Grove on May 1, 2011 in Mobile, Alabama.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It's done, LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan has granted Alexis Thompson membership beginning in 2012. Many thought it was a no-brainer, but others think this may open the floodgates for other teenagers.

Lexi has showed throughout the year that she has what it takes to play with the big guns, both her game and mentality are strong. Her age has just become one of the golfer's characteristics, but it's not a factor anymore.

In May, Thompson was the co-leader of the Avnet Classic after 54 holes of play, but the 16-year-old lost the lead and finished tied for 19 after shooting 78 in the final round. Different from other players who in that same situation might have burst into tears..

USA Today reports Thompson saying "It definitely was (a learning experience). I'm only 16, so I'm just learning every tournament." 

Lexi handled it in-style, her words to the press were just the beginning of a fairytale. She went on to become the youngest winner of a LPGA event earlier this month at the Navistar Classic by five strokes, this was supposed to result in her membership for the 2012 season, but her age was in the way.

After a couple of weeks, Thompson's agent handed the petition to Commissioner Whan, who said through a statement earlier today:

"Her ability to handle the success and disappointment inherent to this game testifies to a level of maturity that I believe makes her capable of handling the emotional rigors of professional golf."

Her addition to the tour will bring buzz, which is always helpful. The tour is in need of new faces who draw fans not just because of their looks, but for their game and ability to interact and engage with fans, and Thompson is one of them.

Michelle Wie might have created even more excitement when she became a LPGA member, but she won a tour's event until her rookie season, before that she played 22 times through sponsor's exemptions and qualifiers, with a runner-up finish as her best result. Thompson won in her eighth try.

Yes, it was a no-brainer for many, but the real deal will begin next year.