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Lexi Thompson and Donald Trump: LPGA Star’s Close Friendship With the Former POTUS Explored

Published 02/26/2024, 10:32 PM EST

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Lexi Thompson and former US President Donald Trump met for the first time when neither of them was known for what they are today. The LPGA Pro was still a kid of 14 and Trump was quite a few years away from the White House when they met in 2009, at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Golf Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Let’s not forget that Thompson had to face the internet’s wrath for her good rapport with the former POTUS. Thompson withdrew from social media a few weeks after playing golf with Trump in 2019. Nevertheless, four years after that incident, the 11-time LPGA Tour winner still sounded glad to have met the ex-president.

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Lexi Thompson “forever grateful” for friendship with Donald Trump

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Last year, Thompson spoke to the Palm Beach Post about Donald Trump and what her friendship with the ex-president meant to her. She said, “I’ve played with Mr. Trump quite a bit being out here 10-plus years. I’ve seen him out a lot, played a lot of rounds with him. He’s a big supporter of women’s golf and my family as well. We’re forever grateful of that friendship.” Asked further about Trump’s golf game, the 29-year-old had more praise for the former POTUS.

She said, “He drives it straight. I’m always on his team. We make a good team. He’s a pretty good golfer—not too bad. And he absolutely loves the game. Just a big supporter of golf.” In 2016, Thompson revealed she was a member of Trump’s club in South Florida and had played golf with him six times at that point.

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The 11-time LPGA Tour winner was at the Trump International Golf Club, only a few miles from the Park. Despite meeting 15 years ago, time hasn’t weighed too heavily on their friendship. But these words were a departure from her rather diplomatic answer in a 2016 interview.

Interestingly, in a previous interview with CBS, she was rather tactful in her response. Asked about her rounds with Trump, Thompson said, “Trump International and Palm Beach is my home course, so I played with him a few times. He’s been extremely nice to my brothers and I and my family. He loves golf. He’s a big supporter of golf so yeah it was… entertaining.”

Thompson has played with Trump a number of times in the last decade. However, her camaraderie with Trump wasn’t well received across the golf community, as many fans lambasted Thompson for what they deemed a tacit approval of his controversial actions. 

When Thompson landed in the crosshairs of golf fans 

Back in 2019, then 24-year-old Thompson teed up alongside Trump and conservative radio host and political commentator, Rush Limbaugh at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Thompson received backlash on social media after the White House released a picture of the trio together. Many on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram expressed their disappointment at her choice of playing partner. 

One fan wrote, “Lexi I appreciate so much of what you do and what you stand for, but standing with a man who demeans the disabled and proudly touts his cruelty towards the weak and oppressed is a step in the wrong direction.” Another fan wrote, “I was a big fan but now not so much as I saw you played golf with Trump & Rush… two people who do NOT support women & children… how could you… sad.” Many believed that such comments led to Thompson taking a break from social media.

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The 2014 Kraft Nabisco Champion took a break from the virtual world after this ordeal. In the announcement post on Instagram, she said, “I’m too involved with it, and to read some of the hurtful things being said to me lately isn’t fair and I’m not dealing with it.

But after netizens linked her sabbatical with the backlash, Thompson’s team clarified, “Lexi’s decision was not based on a recent event or post, but rather from a culmination of harsh, hurtful, and unwarranted commentary from social media abusers over time.” Regardless of the flak, Lexi Thompson didn’t shy away from acknowledging her friendship with Donald Trump last year.

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Written by:

Parnab Bhattacharya

824Articles

One take at a time

Parnab Bhattacharya is a Beat Writer at EssentiallySports in the Golf Division. With four years of writing experience, he is now exploring his deep-rooted love for the gentleman’s sport. Parnab's area of expertise is his predictive and perspective pieces, where he explores all things golf, diving deep into the whys and whats behind players' and Tours' moves in the sport, and unflinchingly voicing his take.
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Edited by:

Tushhita Barua

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