Lexi Thompson Q&A: How she’s ‘forever grateful’ of friendship with Donald Trump and why she took a break in 2023

Though the Aramco Team Series is a Saudi Arabian event at the Trump International Golf Club, South Florida product Lexi Thompson gets a chance to play in her backyard this week and on her home course owned by one of her favorite people.

Thompson, a Coral Springs native who now lives in Delray Beach, shot to fame when she was 12, winning a USGA qualifier to earn a spot in the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open, becoming the youngest to do so.

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Crediting her two golf-playing brothers, Thompson turned pro at 15 and won her first LPGA event at 16.

At 28, the 6-footer has 11 LPGA titles, still going strong, though she has taken a respite in 2023, playing few events.

The Aramco Series, now in its third year, is part team event, part individual tournament with its sponsor a Saudi Arabian oil company.

The format calls for a foursome of three pros from either the LPGA or Ladies European Tour linked with one amateur. The tournament takes place Friday to Sunday at the suburban West Palm Beach course.

The team event is Friday and Saturday and the individual title is up for grabs in Sunday’s final round. (The scores of the pros are added up from the three days of rounds).


The tournament is the second Aramco event of 2023 after March’s Singapore event won by Lydia Ko, who also is entered here. The tournament continues in London, Hong Kong and Riyadh.

More: Lexi Thompson in photos through the years

In October, Thompson won the first Aramco event on American soil, held in The Bronx at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. Thompson is now on home turf trying for an American sweep.

Thursday, the pre-tournament pro-am will be held and is closed to the public and media. Sources indicated former President Donald Trump is expected to compete.

Thompson held a news conference at Trump International, then conducted this Q&A with The Palm Beach Post.


Now that the LPGA event in Boca Raton has gone by the wayside. Does this make up for it?

”It’s always nice to have an additional event in Florida. There’s so many golfers based here, especially in the Palm Beach/Jupiter area. We have one in Orlando and Naples. We have a few here and hopefully, we’ll get a few more. Any Florida events we get, I look forward to them. Usually, because I get to drive and this one’s very close — only about 25 minutes from my home and I practice out of here. It would mean the world to me to defend the title. I have a lot of family, friends coming up to support me, so it’ll be a blast of a week.”

What are your thoughts on having Saudi Arabia running this tour?

“Honestly, these events are put on so well and Aramco has been a huge supporter of the Ladies European Tour and golf in general. We’re all out there playing a game we love. Having the support from sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Aramco, it’s great to be able to play here.”


How is it being a golfing buddy of Donald Trump’s?

“I’ve played with Mr. Trump quite a bit being out here 10-plus years. I’ve seen him out a lot, played a lot of rounds with him. He’s a big supporter of women’s golf and my family as well. We’re forever grateful of that friendship.”

2022 QBE Shootout
2022 QBE Shootout

Lexi Thompson walks from the 4th tee during round two of the 2022 QBE Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida. (Photo:  Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

What does Trump have to work on golfwise?

“He drives it straight. I’m always on his team. We make a good team. He’s a pretty good golfer — not too bad. And he absolutely loves the game. Just a big supporter of golf.”


Would you still like to see a women’s LIV tour?

“There hasn’t been any talks about it. I’m focusing on the tournaments I can play in this year. Not much we can do about it. We’ll continue to play our butts off.  There’s still enough going on in the golf world and see how far we can take our tour.”

What went into the decision to take a break in 2023?

“Honestly, it’s about living a life, spending time with friends and family at home. Being able to go to bed and not have a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call and have to get out there to training and to a tee time. Just being able to do what I want. Even though I’m out there practicing, I can come out here for a few hours and then lay by my pool for multiple hours. Or go out. Whatever I want to do. It’s very important to have that balance. I’m so family-oriented, time away from my family does more harm than me being out there playing multiple days.”

2022 Kroger Queen City Championship
2022 Kroger Queen City Championship

Lexi Thompson watches one of her drives during the second round of the in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo: Aaron Doster/Associated Press)


Do you feel an edge playing your home course and with the heat?

“I would say it’s a little bit of an advantage being my home course, but you still have to go out there and hit the golf shots. And the weather does look very nice coming into the week. Very hot. But I’m used to it. I just played nine, but this is getting to be summer weather. It feels like it’s very humid out there, but just have to drink a lot of water.”

What stands out about this course?

“I’m out here pretty much every day if not every other day. And it’s just a very difficult golf course and they have it set up difficult yardage-wise. So it’s a ball-striker golf course. You have to definitely commit to your lines off the tee. And it requires a lot of really good tee shots. It’s very scenic, a lot of water, palm trees. It’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen. But you have to really commit to your lines, sometimes play more aggressively because you want shorter clubs coming into some of the greens because some are elevated, some have a lot of slope.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek