Q&A with Honda defending champ Thompson
February 26, 2014
By Doug Milne, PGATOUR.COM
- Michael Thompson ranks 73rd in the FedExCup standings.
Q. Talk about how life changed for you once you got your first PGA TOUR win last year.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I really didn't think it changed so much. I got into some better tournaments, Doral and all the other WGCs last year, which was great. I got to play Firestone, which was awesome. I got into I was already in the Masters and U.S. Open, but I got into the U.S. Open based off my World Ranking and PGA Championship, I was a lock for that. Any time you're in the four majors, you're having a great year, so that was pretty special. But other than that, I really just continued to play golf and really had to focus on kind of finding myself again after last year because I didn't play the way I wanted to.
Q. How do you mean find yourself?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Just learn to have fun again on the golf course. Golf was becoming a business to me, and when that happens it's not fun anymore. You're playing for a paycheck, you're playing for a top 10 finish, just all based on results. When I've done that in the past is when I played my worst golf, so when I kind of stay in the present, stay focused on one shot at a time, go have fun, enjoy the experience, that's when I play my best golf.
Q. Just take us back to last year, the final round, just your memories of that final day and getting the win.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I remember starting off I was really nervous. On the first tee I didn't know what to expect. I'd been with the lead before in the weekend, but I hadn't done particularly well. I hit the first tee shot, and I chunk hooked a 5 wood off the tee. It was terrible. But I laughed at it as soon as I hit it. I said, all right, here we go again, because I did it that previous day.
As I was walking to the ball, I said a little prayer just asking for God's help, and that allowed me to calm down. It felt like all the pressure was taken off. It was almost like the weight on my shoulders was gone, and I hit a great second shot, and from there I really didn't miss too many shots. When I made eagle on 3, that's when I kind of knew that this was going to be a great day and that I had the confidence that I could go win.
Inside the PGA TOUR
Michael Thompson shows off his cars
Q. What about Michael Thompson the person, Michael Thompson off the golf course? Give us a little insight into your world away from golf.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, I live in Birmingham, Alabama. I like the slower paced lifestyle, the southern hospitality, good barbecue, going, hanging out with the Alabama golf team every now and then again when I'm home, I'll drive down there and practice with the team and pretty much lose every competition that I play against them because they're so good. I just like to have a good time, spend time with friends on the golf course.
I've gotten into hunting the last couple years, so I think in a few weeks I'm going to have a week off and I'll actually try to go turkey hunting for the first time. Just kind of broadening my horizons and learning new skills. That's what I enjoy doing.
Q. Any parallels between hunting and golf?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Actually a lot. The actual skill involved in terms of shooting a target is very similar to golf because you only have yourself to rely on. A lot of it is breathing techniques, and then also just getting used to the motion of it. Everything involved with lining up on your target, how to pull the trigger in the right way in order to create the most accurate shot, and then also when you're hunting the best part about it is being outdoors. You get to really kind of become in tune with nature. You start to hear everything that goes on outside because when we're working doing our normal daily routine, we're really not noticing all the little things that go on in nature. Maybe every now and then we'll see a bird fly across our vision, but when you're really out there you pay attention to all the squirrels and the wind and noticing every little movement. It's actually a lot of fun for me.
Inside the PGA TOUR
Michael Thompson and the Crimson Tide
Q. One of the things we ask players are about crazy experiences, whether it's the craziest thing you've ever signed, craziest fan. Any standout stories, maybe something crazy you've signed?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I guess the craziest I've probably signed is a little girl asked me to sign her arm, and she had like five or six autographs on her arm. I kind of asked her, what are you going to do, are you going to take a shower tonight or no, but I signed anyways, and she seemed happy. That was weird to me.
Q. If you only have one, do you go oysters at Acme Oyster House or do you go ribs at Dreamland?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I'd probably go ribs. I'm not a huge seafood person, but the char grilled oysters at Acme are to die for. How about ribs, then oysters?
Q. Recap your season for us up to this point.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Last year was disappointing in terms of my expectations or my the quality of golf that I know I can play. I had two eighth place finishes at good tournaments, at Doral and Memorial. That was great. I finished 25th at Augusta, at the Masters, which was awesome, finally kind of figured out how to play that golf course. But other than that I really didn't do anything, and it was kind of a letdown.
But at the same time it was good because it motivated me going into this year to want to work harder, again, try to rediscover myself, go back to the things I worked on in high school and college that made me successful and got me to where I am here today. I'm starting to see results. I've had three top 20 finishes in my last four tournaments, and I only think the sky's the limit from here.