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TOLEDO, Ohio – Lexi Thompson doesn’t care what kind of game her Solheim Cup partner has: long hitter, accurate with the irons, great with the putter – that’s not important.
What she cares about is having someone by her side who is completely invested in the match.
“Honestly, I always say I’ll play with anybody that doesn’t give up,” Thompson said on Friday.
“I think that’s the most important thing, is just to never give up and keep on fighting.”
Thompson had that in Cristie Kerr, one of the game’s most fierce competitors of any era. The two went undefeated in two Solheim Cups together, going 4-0-2.
But Kerr hasn’t made a team since 2017. Two years ago, Thompson partnered with Brittany Altomare in foursomes (alternate shot) and both Jessica Korda and Marina Alex in fourballs (better ball). She went 0-1-2. Combine that with going 0-2-0 without Kerr in 2013 and Thompson is winless in the team portion without the future Hall of Famer.
Altomare and Korda are on this year’s U.S. team and the former is in Thompson’s pod, along with Solheim Cup rookies Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae.
“I think Lexi is a great role model, just by the way she walks, just by the way she talks,” Harigae said. “I’m observing her here, too, at a press conference seeing how she carries herself on the course, off the course.”
This is Thompson’s fifth Solheim Cup appearance, tying her with Lizette Salas for most on the team. In fact, no other player has more than two prior appearances. Thompson will have brother Nick on her bag – not to be confused with brother Curtis, who has caddied for her on multiple occasions.
Curtis is competing in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, working to improve his priority ranking after already earning his PGA Tour card for next season.
Nick hasn’t had much experience as Lexi’s caddie. She counted three previous occasions, including when she was just 8 years old.
But the Solheim Cup is an emotional experience for Lexi and having family around has long been central to her tour presence. She’s also in the market for a permanent caddie, having let go of her previous looper after the Olympics, using a local caddie for the Women’s Open at Carnoustie.
When she gets out on the course Friday, she’ll be looking to get that first non-Kerr ‘W.’ The teams are playing foursomes in the morning and then fourballs in the afternoon.
In whatever session U.S. captain Pat Hurst plugs her in, with whomever she pairs her with, Thompson is highly motivated to help her side win back the cup after losing two years ago in Scotland.
“I want to go out there and enjoy every bit of the experience and just fight until the end,” she said. “Even if I’m struggling or [my partner is] struggling, I’m there to pick them up, they’re there to pick me up, and that’s all team events are about.”