Growing Pains

Lewine Mair reports on golf's current crop of young female talents and the issues they face as their careers develop

There is a touch of tennis in the 1980s on the LPGA Tour as Mike Whan, the new commissioner, prepares to tackle the Alexis Thompson question.

To explain, Thompson is the 15-year-old American who turned professional in June. She finished in a share of tenth place in the Women’s US Open before coming within a whisker of winning the Evian Masters in France.

That done, Thompson, or rather her agent, pressed the Ladies’ Golf Union for a wildcard into Final Qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale. In making the request, the agent explained that the teenager had not had time to fly to the event's US qualifier because it had taken place too soon after the US Open. (Thompson, incidentally, was by no means the only one to suffer on that score.)

Though the LGU will do their best to make sure that clash of dates does not recur, they refused Thompson’s request. And when the press dubbed them a bunch of spoilsports, they issued an explanation.