Team USA golfer Lexi Thompson was forced to swap caddies during her opening round at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, after initial caddie Jack Fulgham was forced to withdraw due to the stifling heat.
In Thursday’s round at Kasumigaseki Country Club temperatures approached nearly 44 degrees celsius during play, and as Thompson made her way off the 15th green caddie Fulgham alerted her to his heat sickness.
As a result, the world number 12 suggested to Fulgham to break and ‘sit in the shade’ as they were set to make their approach to the 16th tee.
Speaking on the matter Thompson said: “He just asked me, he’s like, ‘Do I look white to you’? And I’m like, I didn’t really notice, but he just didn’t look good. I just want him to be healthy, that’s all.”
Following his turn of health Fulgham withdrew from Thompson’s baG and was replaced by Team USA team leader Donna Wilkins for the remaining three holes of the opening round.
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The main priority for both Thompson and Wilkins was of course the health of Fulgham, and following the round conclusion Wilkins said: “We were talking behind the [15th] green, I want to take care of him, that was all I was concerned about.
“He says, ‘I think I can, I’m going to try to do it’. I went over to 16 and I said, ‘Get her a [yardage] number and I’ll take the bag.’ Obviously, I haven’t seen the book, haven’t seen the course, but she played well.”
Speaking of her caddie experiences Wilkins added: “ I don’t normally caddie. Straps were a little off, but it was all good. So glad to be able to jump in and help and my first concern was Jack to make sure he was OK and then I was happy to be able to jump on the bag.”
Despite the caddie-change up Thompson did not seem phased, as she went on to birdie both 16 and 17 with Wilkins on her bag, before a bogey at the par four, 18th saw her finish with a one-over-par, 72 on a dramatic day one.
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Ahead of day two and the remainder of the tournament Thompson is now handed the task of finding a replacement caddie, if Fulgham is unable to continue throughout the week.
Following her opening round, 72 Thompson believed she may need to bring in a local to help her on the bag for the remainder of her time in Japan.
The American athlete said: “If he can’t, I’ll just find a local [caddie]. Figure out how to read a yardage book because I had no idea the last few holes. I’m like, I really hope it’s around that number. But yeah, it ended up working out.”
Thompson will resume her Olympic bid in round two of the event in the early hours of tomorrow morning, when she heads out with round one playing partners Brooke Henderson of Canada and Fillipino Yuka Saso at 2:25am BST.