HONG KONG — LPGA newcomer Lexi Thompson has what it takes to compete on the pro circuit, former teenage golf prodigy Michelle Wie said Monday.
The 16-year-old Thompson will become the youngest player on the tour next year and Wie, who turned professional shortly before her 16th birthday in 2005 amid enormous media hype and a flood of endorsements, has backed her to be a success.
Wie, now 22, acknowledged the difficulties in making the transition from the relatively laid back amateur game, but insisted that Thompson could deal with them effectively.
“I think she’ll be fine,” Wie told The Associated Press. “It brings on a lot of pressure but I think you have to put everything into perspective and to keep working and try not to listen to what people say.”
“You’re going to have your ups and downs, you’re going to let some people down. But it’s your life, you’ve got to enjoy it, you’ve got to enjoy working at it.”
Wie said she had been impressed by Thompson’s performance at the LPGA Navistar Classic in Alabama, where the 6-foot teen won by five shots against a field that included 45 of the top 50 players on the LPGA money list.
“I think she definitely has the game,” Wie said. “I think she definitely deserves to be out there.”