Her passport blunder caused nearly 40 players to miss out on practice rounds Monday for the Women’s British Open and leading golfer Lexi Thompson says she “can’t apologize enough.”
The American was on her way from the Evian Championship in France to Woburn when she realized her passport was in her golf bag, which was in a van carrying the players’ clubs to the UK.
She arranged for the driver to stop and meet her caddie Benji, but the delay caused the van driver to miss his ferry to England, ensuring the clubs only arrived late Monday afternoon, by which time the course was closed for maintenance ahead of the major, which begins Thursday.
“I didn’t realise that I was going to cause so much delay with the bags for all the players and I’m very sorry about that,” the 24-year-old Thompson said in her press conference at Woburn Wednesday.
“But in my situation I was freaking out and then he happened to be somewhere close to where my caddie Benji was so my first reaction was to hopefully stop him and get my passport so I could leave and get to the Women’s British Open.
“I do apologise, I would be upset if I was the other players but I ended up getting it.”
Thompson was a child prodigy who turned professional at 15 and a year later set a then record as the youngest winner of a Ladies PGA Tour event at 16 years seven months in 2011.
The world No.3 won her sole major to date at the 2014 ANA Inspiration
Van driver Ian Wright, a former caddie of Spanish great Seve Ballesteros, said finding Thompson’s bag among nearly 40 others added to the delay, as did traffic jams once in England.
“That van was packed to the hilt. A mouse couldn’t have found room to live in there,” Wright told the Golf Channel.
One player, Ryan O’Toole, was unhappy that Thompson’s actions caused so many people to miss out on practice ahead of the major.
“I don’t know why the driver would agree to accommodate one person knowing it would punish about a third of the field,” she told the Golf Channel.
England’s Karen Stupples, the 2004 Women’s British Open champion, said it was “unfortunate in lots of ways” and added plenty of players including herself had made similar errors with travel logistics.
“Things like this do happen,” she told the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive show.
But she added that by entrusting your clubs to a pool driver you are always at risk of delays.