Honda Classic Interview: Michael ThompsonMarch 01, 2013
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Q. How tough was it to play out there today?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: The golf course is hard. They have got the rough really thick this week, and you know, kind of just treating it like a U.S. Open in a sense, just try to hit fairways, hit a lot of greens, take your par when you can get it and if you happen to make a birdie, you know, so be it.
Q. You got off to a decent start, a birdie and a bogey early. You get to 8, were you thinking at that point, maybe I can get something going?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: No, I just felt like I was swinging the club well, hitting it the way I want to. I'm putting really well right now. And these greens are rolling so good, especially in the morning.
So I just figured, keep plugging along, keep hitting greens, playing smart golf, as my coach at Alabama used to say, just play Michael Thompson golf and go out there and have a good time.
Q. The West Coast wasn't great for you this year, what turned it around and how excited were you to get to Florida?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I was really looking forward to the West Coast, getting off to the start of the year but I took a lot of time off this winter and was just rusty, just didn't have my game. I wasn't far off, and I've been working really hard the last three weeks with my coach, Susie Meyers, and practicing a lot in cold Birmingham, Alabama.
But the work is starting to pay off. It's nice to get a couple good rounds, and like I said on Twitter last night, I'm excited to see where this could lead.
Q. It led to a 65 today. Going forward to the weekend, what your expectations?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Same thing, just hit fairways. On this golf course with the rough, you've got to hit the fairways. If I can do that this weekend, imagine I'll probably play pretty well.
Q. You mentioned your putting was on; was that the key to your round all day long?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: On top of just hitting fairways and playing smart golf, hitting to the fat side of the greens and giving myself good chances.
My distance control with my irons is really good right now, and, you know, like I said, the work that I've put in is just starting to pay off. It's nice to see that happen, because it has been a rough stretch this first couple months out here.
So I'm going to go practice those left‑to‑right four‑footers so I can make that last putt, but you know, everything's going well right now.
Q. You post 3‑under yesterday and you came out this morning, what were your expectations?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, just to keep hitting the ball solid, again, hit fairways. Got out here and warmed up completely in the dark. I really didn't even see my first tee shot, it was so dark.
So just kind of get off to a steady start, make a lot of pars, and if you have to make a bogey, take your medicine and move on. But I just got into a rhythm, especially on the back nine, hit some really good shots. I think I had two tap‑ins for birdie. Missed a couple chances coming in and it was just an all‑around good day.
Q. When is the last day you've been in the mix, in the hunt?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Gosh, probably U.S. Open last year. So it's been a while. But I have those experiences which I can build on and I can grow from hopefully, so I know what it's like. I'm excited about being in this position, especially with how great the field is this week. You know, we'll just go out and play Michael Thompson golf on the weekend.
Q. Speaking of the field on the 18th hole, as I'm sure you've heard, Rory walked off the golf course and withdrew from the tournament?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: No, I didn't hear that.
Q. Any reaction?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Everybody who withdraws, they have their reasons, I'm sure it's a legitimate one and I wish him the best. Sad to see him go, he's such a great player. I love competing against him. I would love to play with him some day.
Q. T‑2 last year at the U.S. Open, do you feel that you have more comfort on golf courses that are more difficult than average?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I wouldn't say comfort. Just more knowledge of knowing that I can compete out here, especially from that finish. That's a big‑time event, and the big thing, I just have to keep believing that I can play well and that I can compete.
The beginning of the year was rough and it really nicked my confidence, and the last few weeks I've been working on just getting back to playing golf the way I know how to play, which is really kind of going out like a kid and just hitting it around the course and finding the ball and hitting it again.
So that's what I plan to do, and as long as I'm having fun, you know, it really doesn't matter where I finish. I obviously want to compete but it's a goal of mine to win. I'm going to try to not put too much pressure on myself.
Q. Is the course playing harder today?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I think so. I think because of the pin placement, there's a couple easy ones, but getting down the Bear Trap, the two par 3s are all the way to the back of the green. You have to hit some really good shots to get close there and I think some other places around the course, it's just hard to get at the pins. And you know, the rough is so thick, you just have to hit the fairways. If you don't hit the fairway, you're struggling to even hit the green.
I'm not as strong as most guys out here, so for me if I hit in the rough, I'm almost laying up. I'm punching out to a wedge and I'll see if I can make my par that way.
Q. How big of a break has it been so far that the wind has not blown?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Oh, it's huge. I played last year, I remember Friday I shot 66 and there was no wind, played great. Then on the weekend, it blew like crazy and I didn't do so well.
So it's a big help that it's not blowing, that's the biggest defense I think of this golf course, especially coming down the last four or five holes. We'll see what happens this weekend. I know there may be a chance of rain, but again, I'm just going to enjoy how I played today, kind of re‑live the moments out there and kind of hopefully build on those.
Q. Any mud balls?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: No. Fortunate that I didn't have anything‑‑ I had a little bit on a couple holes but for the most part, no. Stadler had a bad one on 18, that's why his ball went way left. I mean, just kind of luck of the draw with that one.