Q&A: Michael Thompson
September 21, 2015
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- Michael Thompson finished T2 at the Hotel Fitness Championship and will return to the PGA TOUR next season. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
University of Alabama alum Michael Thompson struggled for a large part of the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season, finishing No. 146 in the FedExCup standings and necessitating a return to the Web.com Tour Finals.
The 30-year-old Arizona native quickly made amends at the first Finals event, though, finishing T2 at the Hotel Fitness Championship – assuring his place in the top 25 on the Finals money list and subsequent return to the TOUR for the 2015-16 season.
Thompson, who finished runner-up to Colt Knost in the 2007 U.S. Amateur, spent a few minutes with PGATOUR.COM to discuss his fascination with the military, why he would like to work on a ranch, and more.
When was the first time you picked up a golf club?
Probably when I was about 6 years old. I actually saw golf on TV; I remember seeing Davis Love III in a PGA TOUR event, and I remember telling my parents, I said, ‘I want to do that.’ So my dad got me a cut-down club, and I would go out when my mom and dad played, and chip and putt around the greens.
What is your favorite golf course you have ever played?
Winged Foot, up in New York. I played the 2004 U.S. Amateur up there, and I played well on the West Course, probably one reason why I like it. I just like the old style … very few water hazards, the course is right in front of you. Long, hard, tree-lined. That is my favorite.
Any golfer that you tried to emulate growing up?
It was kind of a mix between the class and style of Davis Love and Payne Stewart, and then the tenacity and mindset that Tiger had when he first came out. That’s how I tried to model myself.
What is your most memorable golf shot that you have ever hit?
It’s actually one in college. We were playing at Sawgrass Country Club, the John Hayt Intercollegiate. I think we had a one-shot lead coming into the last hole, and I was in the last group, and I was paired with Kevin Chappell from UCLA, and we were both in the middle of the fairway. I hit a low stinger 3-iron that rolled up to the front of the green, which guaranteed a birdie. And it secured the win for our team.
Our coach was right there. We were talking about the shot, just talking about what I needed to do. And then to execute it, it just was perfect.
What is your favorite type of shot to hit?
Mine is a fade. Butter cut, power fade, whatever you want to call it, but I like to move the ball left-to-right. So that’s what I’m always trying to do, unless I’m stuck behind a tree. So if I can see that ball taking off and just falling to the right a little bit, it’s ideal to me. … Just everything, even the wedge shots. Fifty-yard wedge shots, I try to move the ball a little bit right.
If you weren’t a golfer, what do you think you would be doing?
I’ve always been fascinated with military. I kind of come from a military family. My grandfather was a retired Army colonel, in the Airborne. My dad was in the International Guard, and my younger brother actually is currently training to fly F-16s.
So something involved with military, probably. I just have a lot of respect for those men and women, and you know, it’s something I wish I could do. But I’m also very thankful that I get to play golf.
What’s your favorite thing to do to get away from the golf course?
I love cars. I’m actually working on one of my dream cars right now. I’ve got a ‘67 Mustang Fastback that I’m in the process of rebuilding, restoring. When I get home, even when I get off the golf course, I get back to the hotel room … all I’m thinking about are car parts and what’s my next step in the process. I love doing that.
I’ve also got into hunting; I love being outdoors. I’m an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, so I grew up camping and hiking and all that. Just anything outdoors and anything with regard to cars.
If you could be any superhero, what would you be?
Probably Batman. He’s got all the cool gadgets and gizmos. He’s strong, and nobody knows who he is. I like that.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to?
Probably Italy. My wife and I went on a two-week vacation a few years ago to Italy. I’m just so in love with the wine country there and the culture. I grew up playing soccer as well, and they’re fanatics about their soccer, and they love their cars, obviously, That was probably my favorite trip I have ever been on.
What is one thing you would like to do off the golf course that you haven’t done yet?
Hmm. That’s a hard one. There are a lot of things I want to do. Most people would say skydiving or something, but I have a fear of heights, so I don’t want to do that. … I would probably say, this is going to sound weird, but I think it would be really cool to work on a ranch for a month. Get to spend time with the horses and mending fences and waking up early and working hard, all of that. I see a lot of joy in that.