CASERAS, Spain — When United States Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis made her picks for this week’s event at Finca Cortesin she didn’t shy away from addressing automatic qualifier Lexi Thompson’s struggles this season.
“There are definitely some concerns about her game, a hundred percent,” said Lewis last month. “Talking to her, though, she’s been handling all of this remarkably well. I’ve said it before, but you see her off the golf course and you would never know that she’s struggling like she is right now.”
By Thompson’s lofty standards, struggling is an understatement. Over 11 starts this season on the LPGA the 28-year-old has missed eight cuts, with three finishes of T-31, T-47 and most recently T-19 at the Kroger Queen City Championship earlier this month, where she was coming off a streak of five missed cuts. Thompson qualified for her sixth Solheim Cup, this time off her world ranking, and will be the most-tenured player for Team USA this week at the beautiful Finca Cortesin on Spain’s southern coast. After making her debut as an 18-year-old in 2013, Thompson has earned a 6-6-7 record (1-1-3 in singles).
“She is not going to quit and she is not going to give up on the golf course, and sometimes I think that’s the most important thing in Solheim Cups and team events,” added Lewis.
“Might not have been the year that I wanted, but this is this week I’m not focusing on the past,” said Thompson during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m here with my team this week and going to represent my best.”
“It’s like Justin Thomas said, any shot, any moment can change your game,” chimed in Danielle Kang, who has her own personal struggles this week. “Can’t rely on an entire player’s career on just how she’s been playing lately, right?”
Kang will make her fourth appearance for the Red, White and Blue this week, an honor she cherishes every two years when the event is hosted. Thompson agreed and noted how her No. 1 goal is to make the team. Lewis is going to rely on their passion and leadership this week as the American team rolls out five rookies to make their debut.
“I didn’t even know we had that many rookies,” admitted Kang. “Throughout the entire year for two years everyone plays their own game and competes against each other, competes against the field, but rookies or veterans or not, I think our team is really…