Lexi Thompson and her Scottish caddie Kevin McAlpine have split ahead of this week’s LPGA season finale.
In a text message sent to bunkered.co.uk, former Scottish Amateur champion McAlpine confirmed that the duo called time on their partnership after last week’s Toto Japan Classic, where Thompson finished in a tie for 19th.
The duo had worked together since just before the 2017 ANA Inspiration where McAlpine was widely praised for his role in helping the American manage the disappointment of a controversial four-shot penalty in the third round of the championship.
He was also by her side during the 2017 Solheim Cup – where Thompson played a starring role in the USA’s success at Des Moines Country Club – and helped lead her to two LPGA victories.
Their split comes ahead of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, where, last year, Thompson missed a two-foot putt on the 18th hole to lose the tournament. She did still, however, win the overall Race to the CME Globe to claim the $1million bonus.
In addition to various on-course problems, Thompson has had to deal with significant issues away from the golf course.
In June 2017, her mother Judy was diagnosed with uterine cancer, for which she has been undergoing treatment, while in September 2017, her grandmother passed away.
Earlier this year, she took a temporary break from golf to “recharge” her “mental batteries”, which caused her to miss the RICOH Women’s British Open. She returned at the Indy Women in Tech Championship in August and has banked cheques in four of her six starts since then, with a best finish of T9 at the Cambia Portland Classic.
The CME Group Tour Championship gives Thompson her final chance to win on the LPGA this season and continue her record of winning at least once each year since 2013.
McAlpine gave up a job working for junior equipment brand Golphin in Scotland to take up Thompson’s bag early in 2017.
Thompson has regularly praised McAlpine’s contribution to her game. At the 2017 RICOH Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns, she described him as her “best friend”, saying: He's always there to hear me out and hear me vent on the golf course, and we laugh so much on the golf course. I've never been so relaxed out there.”
In a text, McAlpine declined to elaborate on the reasons for the split but said that he wishes Thompson all the best for the future.