Lexi Thompson and the tragically missed 72nd hole putt

Lexi Thompson learned, again, one of the game’s most valuable life lessons on the 72nd hole at the CME Group Tour Championship.

Lexi Thompson should have made that putt Sunday afternoon on the 72nd hole at the CME Group Tour Championship. But she stabbed at the ball with her flatstick and that was that. The ball dribbled off to the side and Thompson’s chance to take it all home slipped through her fingers.

What happened? We don’t even need to ask. If we play golf, we already know. We’ve all done it.

It was a short, little inchworm of a putt. No more than two feet. Probably closer to 18 inches. Not the kind of putt a player like Lexi Thompson misses, unless she loses her nerve, or gets overconfident, and stabs at the ball rather than stroking it.

It was an expensive miss. Thompson edged out Sung Hyun Park for the million dollar Race to the CME Globe bonus and she took home the 2017 Vare Trophy, so it wasn’t entirely a bust.

But that missed putt left her sharing the Tour Championship runner-up slot on the board with Jessica Korda and on the sidelines for Player of the Year honors. She also lost her first real opportunity to ascend to the top of the world rankings when that putt slid past the cup and what would have been a par became a bogey.

It’s been a year of huge disappointments and graceful recoveries for the 22-year old Lexi Thompson.

She took a gut punch early in the season with what many still regard as a monumentally unfair penalty assessment at the ANA Inspiration. The championship went to So Yeon Ryu, who ultimately shared Player of the Year honors with Sung Hyun Park.

Lexi finished runner-up at Rancho Mirage and again at Tiburón. This time she took a million-dollar consolation.


Golf is a game that exhilarates and humbles. Standing on the 72nd green at the CME Group Tour Championship, Lexi Thompson got one of the game’s more painful lessons. It’s not over until the last putt drops.