USGA CEO Mike Whan: Lexi Thompson Made Brave Decision

“I'm excited if she's excited. If this is something that's going to make her happy, that's great."

by Sead Dedovic
USGA CEO Mike Whan: Lexi Thompson Made Brave Decision
© Rob Carr/Getty Images Sport

Lexi Thompson's decision to retire has sparked various reactions from fans of this sport. The 29-year-old surprised the golf community and confirmed that she will retire at the end of this year. Immediate reactions followed from fans, her colleagues, and prominent figures in the world of golf. 

USGA CEO Mike Whan is one of those who reacted. He emphasized before the US Women's Open that he is excited for her, believing that she has the right to make any decision. Whan emphasizes that if it's something that brings joy to the 29-year-old, then he's happy about it.

“I'm excited if she's excited. If this is something that's going to make her happy, that's great.”- Mike Whan said, as reported by Golf Monthly.

Looking at her age, many would think that this golfer's career lasts about nine years. What's impressive is that Thompson made her debut at the US Open at the age of 12! This will be her 18th consecutive appearance in this Major. Whan is not only impressed by her performances and gameplay but also by many aspects of this golfer. Her personal qualities, behavior, and way of communication are just some of the things that Whan respects and why he holds such a high opinion of her.

“She has definitely given her time. I think anybody in this room who works at the LPGA or did would tell you that if we were going to write a book about how to handle yourself off the golf course, not even talking about the competition and accomplishments on, but in terms of how to handle sponsors, how to handle fans, how to handle availability, she was a role model."- he said.

Lexi Thompson
Lexi Thompson© Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Sport

He acknowledges that everyone has their own path and what may be exciting and fulfilling for one person may not be the same for another. He recognizes that Thompson may be seeking a new challenge or direction in her life, and he respects her freedom in making that decision.

Lexi Thompson, speaking about her decision, highlighted some reasons for why she chose to take this step. Feelings of fatigue and pressure are just one of the reasons. Thompson began building her career as a young girl, and over the years, there were high expectations placed upon her. It can be especially challenging for a person if they don't meet these expectations, which creates additional pressure and problems. 

Whan addressed the fact that Thompson started her career early, believing that many fans don't understand what it means to lose years from 12 to 19, engaging in professional sports. Whan confirmed that many golfers, as well as athletes, have had such experiences. He tried to explain his perspective, emphasizing that her 29 years are actually like someone else's 39, considering the things she missed out on being a part of.

Lexi Thompson has earned a tremendous amount of money throughout her career, which is certainly a plus for her (over $14 million). Whan emphasizes that it's indeed important to earn significant money during one's career, as it provides the freedom to retire and live peacefully for the rest of one's life. He stresses that many would have liked to make such a move at the age of 29, but probably couldn't due to financial constraints. Mike once again emphasized that if her decision brings her joy, it's a wonderful thing.

Mike Whan: Sometimes it's important to make the right decision despite the reaction of others

The USGA CEO has learned important lessons throughout his life, which he strives to pass on to others. The life experience of one individual can be valuable for another if they are willing to listen. Whan uses every opportunity to advise his three children. Among the series of advice he has given them is the importance of sometimes making a decision that many may consider incorrect.

“I have three kids, and I always say to my kids, the most courageous choice you'll make in your lives will be the choices you make that everybody else thinks are wrong from your thoughts, but you know it's the right choice for you."- he said.

USGA boss Mike Whan
USGA boss Mike Whan© Warren Little/Getty Images Sport

Whan's remarks indicate his support for Lexi's decision to retire, despite potential differing opinions. He expresses pride in her for making what she believes to be the right choice for her, highlighting it as yet another example of the courageous decisions she has made throughout her career.

Thompson has already stated that she has numerous plans for after her career ends and is ready to dedicate herself to other things. Lexi wants to make up for some things she missed during her career, and financial power will ensure that she can do so.

Usga Mike Whan Lexi Thompson