That’s the beginning of a quote from Helen Alfredsson the Swedish LPGA Tour star who was doing the color commentary during the final round of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, the final tournament of the year for the Ladies European Tour.
Lexi Thompson was in the middle of her back nine and was cruising along with what appeared an insurmountable four-shot lead. She had gotten herself into that position by playing very aggressively; cutting the corners of the doglegs, shooting straight at the pins and rolling every putt so smoothly and assertively they looked like they were all going in.
This is not the kind of behavior you normally see from a 16-year-old. Alfredsson was speaking to the LET play-by-play announcer and talking about Lexi’s strategy being exactly what was required to win.
“She already knows what it took the rest of us five years to learn.”
“I’m just impressed with Lexi being such a natural player. We keep comparing her to your countryman, Rory McIlroy, and it’s nice to see that they play within themselves and they haven’t gone too technical too early.”
“Yeah,” he replied. “That’s a very good point and clearly there’s a very strong mind at work as well.”
But it came with a lot of hard work. They told the story of when she was a young girl, she played all day long with her brothers, came home for dinner and then wanted her parents to drive her back to the driving range so that she could work on her swing some more. She credits her brothers’ competitiveness with helping her to get better.
Sophie Gustafson, her victim today, was asked if she hit the ball as far as Lexi when she was her age. “Yes, I hit the ball as far as she does when I was sixteen, but I just had nowhere near the amount of control that she does.”
This kid was a phenom before she won her first LPGA Tour tournament earlier this year. (I use the label “kid” affectionately. She is six-feet tall and looks quite fetching in her lucky blue outfit in which she won her first tournament.) She was the youngest player ever to qualify to play in the U.S. Women’s Open. She was 12. She was the second youngest winner on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). And she was the youngest winner in Junior PGA Championship history. Her records and accomplishments are too numerous to detail here. (See her Wikipedia page.) And when she did finally win on the LPGA Tour, she not only was the youngest to ever do so, she beat Paula Creamer’s modern-day record by over two years and two months.
The play-by-play announcer captured the moment as the last group was heading to the eighteenth tee. “Not a bad spot to be in in December, Dubai.” Especially if your name is Lexi Thompson, you’re sixteen years old, you’ve just won your second professional tournament, your loving father is there as your caddie and you have your whole life ahead of you.