Sunday, December 28, 2008

Michael Thompson - The 10th Best Sports Figure from Southern Arizona in 2008

Michael Thompson was named the 10th best sports figure from Southern Arizona in 2008 by the Arizona Daily Star.

"10. Michael Thompson. The low amateur in the U.S. Open (tied for 29th overall), the University High grad was a consensus All-American at Alabama, where he led the Crimson Tide to its first SEC title in 28 years, won the individual SEC championship himself, made the U.S. Palmer Cup team. He also played two memorable rounds at the Masters in which he gained great respect by calling a penalty on himself in a virtually unseen putting situation."
via the Arizona Daily Star (article no longer available)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Time for some practice

Word from uncle Mike is that Michael will be playing on the Hooters Tour in the upcoming season. He also said that Michael will be getting in some good practice time with his swing coach, Susie Meyers in preparation for the season.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Q School - Better luck next year

Michael failed to advance to the last Stage of Q School.  He earned a pass into the second of three stages by making the cut at the 2008 US Open.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tucson Golf Teacher Takes Unconventional Approach

Tucson golf teacher takes unconventional approach
by Bryan Lee on Nov. 12, 2008
Michael Thompson had his share of plays and misplays during spring and summer’s big-time experience.
At the Masters in April, the Rincon/University High graduate “just pasted the first shot,” said Susie Meyers, Thompson’s golf instructor. “Right down the middle.”
At the U.S. Open in June, he finished in a tie for 29th and “putted as pure as anyone in the field,” said Meyers. That was despite missing a handful of drives.
“But he did not let it cost him because he did not get negative or emotional about his poor shots,” she said.
Had Thompson done so, Meyers, who often caddies for him, would have been the most surprised person on the grounds.
“That was a really powerful thing to see because golf can do that to you,” she said.
Thompson’s peace comes from Meyers’ Zen-like teaching approach. She gives no negative feedback and says, “Golf is life, but life is not golf.”
“My philosophy is very different,” she said. “I simply try to lead people through the maze of details that golf can present and make the game as easy as possible. I do not use videos because people tend to focus on what is wrong. I would rather golfers think about what they want to do right.”
Thompson says Meyers, who is accompanying him this week in the second stage of PGA Qualifying School, has instructed him since age 14. He was self-taught until then.
“She opens your eyes to all aspects of the game,” he said. “When you’re in trouble, you know in your head what went wrong. Negative is not an emotion you should have.”
Meyers, a former University of Arizona player, doesn’t get to give much instruction to her 11-year-old son Chris.
“He’s having too much fun learning to play the game,” she said. “He learned the game through self-discovery and self-assessment.”
Meyers doesn’t pay much attention to the technical part of the game, saying that “you have to have control of your preparation for your shot and your reaction to it.
“I have come to learn that technical instruction fragments learning and our brains do not do well with a lot of details. A broad concept is much easier for golfers to grasp.
“You don’t have to play with one golf swing. I’m not a method coach. I work with what a player has and help them improve what they have. A child doesn’t take instruction in learning to walk. Ten-year-olds break par and know nothing of technique. It’s not to say I don’t know golf swings; I do, but the body follows the tool.”
Thompson was doing OK as a junior golfer with loads of talent, but Meyers, he says, helped give him the impetus to shoot under 75.
“I was stuck,” he said. “She changed (my grip) so I could hit it as far as I could.”
Meyers, who teaches at Ventana Canyon, majored in business at UA (1979) and played on pro minitours. Then known as Susie Berdoy, she married former pro Dan Meyers, a college sweetheart who had a 2-handicap.
Her evolving teaching style came with the understanding of how the brain works.
“Golf is about you, how to take care of you, eat right, work out,” she said. “It brings out so much emotion and we become completely vulnerable, stripped bare standing out there in front of God and everybody and still be able to hit the shot. It’s all mental. You can’t control where the ball goes but you can control yourself.”
Meyers tends to think her part is small.
“I always say that I give him 5 cents worth of instruction,” she said, “and Michael goes and makes $100 with it. He is that talented.”
Via  Tucson Golf Teacher Takes Unconventional Approach

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Michael Thompson finishes in 28th place at his first PGA tour event as a pro

Michael Thompson finished T-28th with a -8 at the Valero Texas Open, earning $32,625.  It was his first PGA tour event as a professional.  As an amateur he had played in both the 2008 Masters and US Open.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Battle of Tide's SEC Golf Champions Ends in a Tie

Oct. 3, 2008
TUSCALOOSA - It was an accomplishment 42 years in the making, a victory unparalleled for another 29 years.
This season marks the 30th anniversary of the University of Alabama's first Southeastern Conference men's golf championship. It was the first conference title for the Crimson Tide since the league started holding championships in golf in 1937. Only one other Tide team has matched that feat, and that moment came 29 years later when Jay Seawell's 2008 Alabama team won SEC Championship in April. It was one of a school record six team tournament championships Alabama won last season.
On Saturday at halftime of the University of Alabama's football game against Kentucky, the 2008 team will be at midfield of Bryant-Denny Stadium where they will be honored for their success. On Friday afternoon the 2008 team was together again, out on the golf course at Ol' Colony Club in Tuscaloosa playing an exhibition match against Alabama's 1979 champions and the freshmen on Alabama's 2008-09 team.
Fittingly, perhaps, the battle of the champions ended in a tie. And it went down to the wire on the 18th hole. The final grouping included the 1979 team's Steve Hudson, 2008 Ping All-American and SEC Champion and Golfer of the Year Michael Thompson, and Tide freshman Bud Cauley, a member of the USA's 2008 Junior National Team. Hudson birdied 18 to tie the 2008 team. But perhaps hinting that the best was still to come with Alabama golf, the freshmen were the ones who ran away with the match, winning by nine strokes.
"It was incredible," said 1979 team member Bob Mathers, now a pilot who lives in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. "We spent four years watching Steve Hudson come through in clutch situations and he comes through again in another clutch situation. So I thought it was real fitting. But the thing that was so tremendous about this was to reconnect. We could be these guys' fathers. Granted, they give us 50 yards off of every tee shot. They gave us a pretty good advantage but just being able to go out there and have that friendly competition between Alabama guys, that was tremendous. To see the freshmen, the guys coming up and to see the 2008 team, I told these guys all day, I'm so impressed with their attitude and their demeanor on the golf course. And we are all so competitive. Still. Just by nature you wouldn't come to play at Alabama if you were not competitive. Every shot is important, and Steve making that shot on that last hole, knowing he had to make it to tie, it was such a fitting end to such a great day."
The final team scores were, from the 1979 team, Steve Hudson 71, Bob Mathers 71, Cecil Ingram 74, Kevin Canada 82 and Barry Harwell 76 for 292. For the 2008 team it was Michael Thompson 71, Matthew Swan 74, Mark Harrell 74, Joseph Sykora 74 and Matt Hughes 73 for 292. And for the freshmen, Hunter Hamrick shot 64, Bud Cauley 77, Hunter Slatton 75, Phillip Weaver 70 and Spencer Cole 74 for 283.
Four of the five golfers who played in the 1979 SEC Championship tournament in Birmingham were in Tuscaloosa. Missing was Gary Trivisonno who now resides in Aurora, Ohio. Mathers played in his spot. Trivisonno, winner of the Ohio Senior Open in September, is still actively playing golf and is competing at a national event this weekend. And missing as well was their coach, Conrad Rehling who died in 2007. Tab Hudson and Dr, Allen Yielding served as the 1979 team's coaches.
Kevin Canada is now in the investment business and lives in Birmingham. When Seawell invited him and his teammates to come back to Tuscaloosa for the bragging rights exhibition match, he jumped at the idea.
"I thought it was a great idea, the opportunity to play with these guys from the 2008 team and to play again with our guys from 1979 in this format is just a whole lot of fun for all of us," said Canada. "This is the first time we've all played together since 1979. We've talked about getting together during SEC Championships, and Conrad Rehling wanted to get us together for a reunion, but it just never happened. So for Jay to put this together is something really special."
Among those who came out to watch the exhibition match was former University of Alabama football player and former Director of Athletics, Cecil "Hootie" Ingram. He came to watch his son, Cecil, Jr., play. Cecil, Jr. played in The Masters Tournament as an amateur while he was an Alabama golfer and his play in the SEC tournament was key in Alabama's win.
"Allen Yielding met me up on the 18th fairway," remembers Ingram who was a U.S. Amateur semifinalist in 1979 and is now in real estate development and business in Birmingham. "He was our captain the year before. He stood up there and he said, `Do you want to know how we stand?' And I said, `Yes.' He said we're either tied or we're 1-up and the guys behind us were not going to count. So I pulled out a 6-iron and I hit up there at the flag and it kind of hopped up there behind it. Then Trivisonno came over to me when I got on the green and said, `Just knock the putt in.' And I knocked the putt in, and we ended up beating Florida. Things just fell into place."
Golf was a large part of their lives then and continues to be today. Barry Harwell is head men's golf coach at Clayton State. Trivosonno is winning on the senior tours. And Birmingham's Steve Hudson says he left the sport for a time to establish himself in business and has picked it up again.
"I played professionally for six years (after college). I was 29 and had to get a real job," said Hudson whose brother "Tab" also played golf at Alabama. "I quit playing for probably five years and then I started playing back a little bit, but I was still working real hard on building my practice (a financial advising firm). About six or seven years ago, I started back playing in some of the tournaments, so I've just really enjoyed that. You meet so many wonderful people playing golf. You're rekindling old friendships and making new friends, so it's been fun."
Harwell knows all about the importance of team chemistry as a golf coach, and he says he experienced the result of great chemistry when he was a golfer at Alabama. He says even though it's been 30 years, he and his Tide teammates still remain in touch and great friends. And being the only Alabama golf team to have won a league title in 70 years was also a great source of pride. But so, too, is the success of the 2008 Tide team. Alabama's former golfers are avid Tide golf fans.
"It gave us a little identity," said Harwell, "although there is no comparison to their (2008) team. The players, as far as the quality of golf, they're much better than we were at that time. We had a pretty decent season our senior year. We just happened to win the conference but I think they had that intent the whole way. And that's what they strive to do every year. Jay has brought the program to a different level. And that's good. It's great to see it."
All five of the men who played in and won the 2008 SEC tournament were back on Friday. The three seniors among that group, Michael Thompson, Mark Harrell and Joseph Sykora have all graduated with their degrees and are all in the beginning stages of their professional playing careers. Thompson and Harrell both played in PGA events as UA golfers, Thompson at the 2008 Masters and U.S. Open just weeks after he graduated and Harrell in the 2007 U.S. Open. The 2008 champions also included current Tide seniors Matthew Swan and Matt Hughes.
"It's the same for us as it is for the '79 team," said Thompson who, since graduation from Alabama in May has played in the U.S. Open, a PGA Tour event, turned pro in July, played in two Nationwide events, played in four Hooters Tour events and has an exemption next week for the PGA Tour event in San Antonio. "It's the same for us as with them, guys coming back and just picking it up like they never lost a beat. I hope that's the way it's going to be for me in 10 or 20 years, whatever. It's definitely a close bond we all have. Our success is something we accomplished together. It wasn't just one guy. It was all of us as a team, so that's very special, and then we get to have days like this where we celebrate that experience. It's just as much fun for us to get back and play together after just a couple of months apart as it is for them to get together after 30 years."
You can view's Photo Gallery of the event


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Michael Thompson scores his first top 10 finish as a pro

Michael had his first pro top 10 finish at a Hooters Tour event, finishing 7th with a -8 at the Hilton Garden Inn Classic.  That followed a 25th place finish at the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic the week below.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ping Signs All-American Michael Thompson

July 23, 2008

University of Alabama All-American Michael Thompson, the low amateur at this year’s U.S. Open and the world’s top-ranked amateur before recently turning professional, has agreed to endorse PING® golf equipment, PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim announced today.

The 23-year-old Thompson will make his professional debut this week at the Nationwide Tour’s Children’s Hospital Invitational playing 11 PING clubs, carrying a PING bag and wearing PING headwear. He’ll play a PING Rapture® driver, Rapture hybrid, S58® irons, a Tour-W® wedge and an Anser® 4 putter.

The Tucson, Arizona native joins the professional ranks after a career highlighted by a runner-up finish at the 2007 U.S. Amateur which earned him invitations to this year’s Masters and U.S. Open. At the time he announced his decision to turn professional, he was the No. 1 amateur in the world according to the World Amateur Ranking System. In three professional events this season where he competed as an amateur, he made the cut in two events, including the U.S. Open where he tied for 29th.

“Michael’s been associated with PING throughout his outstanding collegiate career,” said Solheim. “Now that he’s turned professional, we look forward to furthering that relationship. He’s already proven he can compete at the major championship level. We’re excited to have him join our staff and all of us at PING look forward to following his progress.”

Thompson, who began his collegiate career at Tulane in 2004, transferred to Alabama after Hurricane Katrina forced Tulane to disband its golf program. In two years at Tulane, he won four tournaments. At Alabama, he earned 2nd team All-American honors in 2007 and 1st team honors in 2008.

“I’ve relied on PING equipment since my freshman year at Tulane,” said Thompson, who was named 2008 SEC Player of the Year. “I have been amazed at both the product technology and the service they provide to ensure my every need is being met. As I begin the next stage in my golf career, I have added confidence knowing PING is committed to helping me achieve my goal of succeeding at the highest level.”


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Michael Thompson Ends His Amateur Golf Career Ranked #1 in the WORLD

Thompson makes it to the top - 02 Jul 2008

Michael Thompson of the USA has moved up one place to take over the No 1 position in The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking from compatriot Rickie Fowler. An outstanding finish in the US Open to tie Steve Stricker in 29th place with rounds of 74-73-73-72 for a 292 total boosted his points total.

He followed up with another solid performance in a USPGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship, with rounds of 65-67-72-73 for a share of 59th place.

Fowler has twice led the Ranking, but now drops back into second spot. Reinier Saxton of the Netherlands, who jumped into the top 10 with victory in The Amateur Championship, has moved up a further place to No 6, swapping places with Danny Lee of New Zealand.

Via R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking

Monday, June 16, 2008

Susie Meyers Shares US Open Experience

I played in a number of U.S. Opens when I was on the LPGA Tour, but I never thought I would be caddying in the men's U.S. Open. To be at the Open with your student whom you’ve been with for nine years, watching him reach his goals, to be a part of his dreams, to realize that he is the real thing, this is true satisfaction. I had caddied for Michael Thomson in his first U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot in 2004, so it was a real privilege to caddy for him again in his first US Open. 
The first two days, Michael had a fabulous pairing, playing with Rocco Mediate. Rocco is as nice as can be and funny. And he never stopped talking. He was definitely on his game that week, losing to Tiger Woods eventually on the first sudden death hole aft er an 18-hole playoff round. 
The Open is all about placing your ball in the right spot so you have a chance at the next shot. Playing with Rocco, Michael was getting a first-hand lesson. To be sure, Michael was ready for the task and was really enjoying this opportunity to play with the best players in the world. 
The first round was pretty solid even though he had his highest score. Michael hit 14 greens and shot 75. We worked very closely through each round. As the tournament went on my player instincts really kicked in. Michael wanted to verbalize each shot, to visualize it and to make a commitment to the shot he intended. He would tell me what he saw, where his target would be, where he saw the putt breaking or where the ball should enter the hole. 
Michael and I have worked many years on realizing you cannot control your ball but you can control your preparation and your reaction to the shot. Michael let each shot “go” and did not control it. However, he was very much in control of his emotions and his composure. He is very mature and in this game that really pays off . 
Friday morning we were on the Torrey Pines driving range. I was watching Michael warm up when Tiger walked onto the range. It was like the King had arrived. The crowd went wild. I told Michael that Tiger was going to plant himself right behind him so take his time. Sure enough, Tiger stopped right next to Michael and the crowd was very loud. I appreciated a chance to say hello to Hank Haney, Tiger’s instructor and my former boss. I looked around and thought, “Wow, we are doing it, we are at the U.S. Open and I am caddying for the best amateur in the field” 
The second day was an amazing display of tenacity and patience. Michael was three over for the first three holes then played one under from there. He didn’t have a good feel for where the club was that day so the ball was all over the course. But he kept it together and endured, making putts and chipping it close. He birdied the 9th and 10th holes, and a birdie on 18 assured him of making the cut. We were ecstatic; his first cut in a major. 
The third round started off just as shaky but he managed to keep it together and shot another 73. Michael stays in the shot so well—no past, no future, just the moment. 
Each day I heard a lot of “Go Mom!” gallery chatter. Who knew that I was Michael’s instructor? Tell me, what kid would have his mom caddy for him in the Open? I wanted to wear a sign that said, “I’m not the Mom!” But Michael is very secure in himself and loved having me along for the ride, even though I was the only female instructor in the field. 
The fourth round seemed a lot calmer than the first three. Michael’s ball went where he was looking more often. As my player skills were being piqued we were making some great decisions together. Michael shot a cool 72 and finished as the low amateur, tied for 29th in the field. I was so proud of him as a golfer but more so as a person. He stood up under the heat and flourished. I only see great things happening for Michael. 
And me? Well, I got to go home to my husband and two kids and do what I love to do: help people with their golf games. As we know there is so much more to golf than the swing. Guiding golfers through the maze of details that this game entails and making it more enjoyable and “do-able” is what I’m all about. 
And Michael? Well, he turns professional the first of July and will try to get some sponsor exemptions into PGA events and then go to Qualifying School for the PGA Tour in the fall. He is a very happy and confident young man and will make his way in the world of professional golf just fine!
Susie Meyers, longtime teaching professional at Ventana, has been coaching Michael Thompson, one of the nation’s top amateur golfers, for the past nine years. She caddied for him in the recent U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in California.

Tucsonan makes TV replays with 22-foot birdie

 Tucsonan makes TV replays with 22-foot birdie
 by Bryan Lee on Jun. 16, 2008
“Just having fun,” was the theme of Tucsonan Michael Thompson and Rocco Mediate, although the stakes were quite a bit more serious for Mediate Sunday at the U.S. Open.
Thompson was serious enough, though, to claim low amateur honors and a tie for 29th place at Torrey Pines, Calif.
The University High School graduate posted five birdies and a 1-over-par 72 on Sunday.
“I took a lot from this,” Thompson said in a telephone interview. “Playing with the pros was a lot of fun and I was just enjoying everything, but what I learned is going to really help me.”
Thompson made a 22-foot putt for a birdie on the 11th hole – which got national TV-replay – to key his effort Sunday on the difficult South course during an up-and-down final day.
“I played steady and I played that way for the whole tournament except for the starts,” he said. “My putting was on (Sunday). The pin placements were fairly easy and we expected the greens to be hardened but they were soft.”
Thompson played with Mediate, who will compete in an 18-hole playoff Monday against Tiger Woods for the U.S. Open title.
Thompson will play in the Traveler’s Championship in Connecticut next week and the Palmer Cup in Scotland as an amateur before turning pro on the Nationwide Tour on July 24.
“I’m hoping for a few exemptions in PGA events before Q (qualifying) school in September,” he said.
He’s far from being a veteran pro, but had one advantage at the big tourney.
“I never gave up this week,” he said.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tucsonan Relaxed, Solid on First Day

June 13, 2008 
Tucsonan relaxed, solid on first day 
LA JOLLA, Calif.
A golfer's first encounter with the U.S. Open does not have to be fried nerves and an experience so grim that you cannot breathe. You can, for example, find yourself paired with guys who answer to "Rocco'' and "Dr. Dirt.''
And thus at 7:32 Thursday morning, a few seconds before Michael Thompson was to stick a tee into the ground and either faint or skull one into the ocean - OK, not really, he is in the U.S. Open, after all - he did the last thing you would expect.
He laughed.
He laughed when 53-year-old Brad Bryant, a sad-eyed, Champions Tour campaigner who wears rumpled clothes and has forever been known as "Dr. Dirt,'' broke the tension by saying something funny at the exact moment you didn't think there was anything funny in the world.
Thus de-iced, the 23-year-old University High School grad shot a skilled 74 and emerged from the scorer's shack to say, "I'm still in the U.S. Open.'' He didn't embarrass himself; he distinguished himself at Torrey Pines.
You can only imagine how difficult it is for someone two weeks removed from receiving his accounting degree from the University of Alabama, or anywhere, to shoot a 74 in the first round of the Open.
"Michael didn't make any mistakes, which is pretty incredible for his first U.S. Open,'' said his caddy, Ventana Canyon teaching pro Susie Meyers. "I'm going to be eager to see what he does in his fourth or fifth Open.''
And isn't that the most sensible context?
Young Mr. Thompson is a wee lad in the golfing business; he isn't going to turn pro until the Nationwide Tour's July 24 event in Columbus, Ohio, and he hasn't even cleaned out his apartment in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and moved back into the real world.
He shot a 74 in the Open anyway. He shot a 74 on a day that 11 guys shot 80 (or worse) before lunch.
Part of it was that Thompson played in the Masters two months ago and emerged from the pressure of Augusta, Ga., educated in the feel of a Really Big Event. Another part was that Bryant and Rocco Mediate, who probably leads the PGA Tour in light chatter, turned the day into a gabfest.
What, me worry? Mediate shot a 69 and was near the lead all day. Thompson took the cue.
How can you be overwrought when two-time U.S. Open champ Curtis Strange pulls up on the No. 5 fairway, driving an NBC golf cart, and shouts, "Hey, Dirt, the marlin are biting down in Florida better than they have in 50 years. What are you doing golfing when you could be fishing?''
And then, rather than putting his finger to his lips, Dr. Dirt shouted, "Hey, get me a Diet Coke, will ya?''
A few minutes later, Brad Bryant excused himself, walked a few dozen yards into the weeds and, ahem, took care of nature's business. Thompson must have wondered if he wrongly took a detour to the Quad Cities Open.
"I spent much of (Wednesday) night playing gin rummy with my dad (Mike) and it relaxed me,'' Thompson said. "I was a little nervous this morning, but Rocco and Brad were cracking one-liners. I slowed down my breathing, made some good swings and got off to a great start.''
Thompson was hitting fairways (15) and greens (14) all day; he failed to dissolve when five of his putts either stopped on the lip or skimmed the edge of the cup. You don't need much imagination to picture his 74 being a 70 or better.
Meyers, a former Arizona Wildcat golfer who played on the LPGA Tour, was Thompson's caddie/teacher during his remarkable run to the finals of the U.S. Amateur 10 months ago. Their partnership flows.
"Michael hit a lot of good shots that were on the wrong side of luck,'' she said. "I can't remember a bad swing all day. He hit it in the wrong place a couple of times coming out of the rough, but that was it. He was just so solid. It was a fabulous experience.''
Thompson completed his college odyssey at Alabama last month. He won eight tournaments at Tulane and Alabama and was a consensus All-American whose most recent honor was being named to the All-Jack Nicklaus team. That earned him an exemption into the Children's Hospital Invitational on July 24-27 in Columbus, Ohio, which is scheduled to be his pro debut.
Before that, he has accepted an exemption, as an amateur, to play in next week's PGA Tour event, the Traveler's Championship, in Connecticut.
Thereafter, he will fly to Scotland to play for Team USA in the June 26-27 Palmer Cup. His mother, Beth, a teacher at Sabino High School, is acting as his agent until he turns pro. He also is beginning the process of selecting endorsement offers from equipment and clothing manufacturers.
But those are stories for another day. Today, at the U.S. Open, it is a good time to be Michael Thompson.
Via archives  
If the link doesn't work, go to azstarnet, search for "Tucsonan relaxed, solid on first day" and select "search archives"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tucsonan Shoots 1 over 73 at Masters

Tucsonan shoots 1-over-73 at Masters
by Bryan Lee on Apr. 10, 2008
Amateur Michael Thompson reacts to his shot on the fourth tee during the first round of the 2008 Masters golf tournament.
Tucson amateur Michael Thompson fired a 1-over-par 73 in the first round of Masters play.
The Rincon/University High graduate birdied three holes and bogeyed four, shooting a 37-36 at Augusta National in Augusta, Ga.
He birdied No. 9 to get to 1-over-par and trailed co-leaders Justin Rose and Trevor Immelman by five strokes. With some golfers still on the course, Thompson was tied for 35th.
Tiger Woods shot an even-par 72, one shot better than Thompson.
Thompson is ranked No. 2 in the nation for top-ranked University of Alabama. He is one of three amateurs in the Masters tourney.
In a par 3 exhibition tournament Wednesday, he teamed with veteran Ben Crenshaw for a tie for fourth place, finishing 2-under-par and three shots behind former University of Arizona golfer Rory Sabbatini.
“I was so nervous on the first tee because Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player walked up to the tee right then,” Thompson said. “(Palmer) was saying, ‘Just enjoy it. Try not to be nervous. Just grip it and rip it on the first hole.’ ”
Thompson’s father, Mike, is caddie for his son.
“He’s usually a pretty talkative guy,” the younger Thompson said of his dad. “He was completely quiet. He was taking it all in. Someone said that he almost started crying a couple of holes just because he was having the best time.”