Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thompson's WGC Press Conference

by Roz Roberts III

I finally found a full copy of Michael's press conference from the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational and here it is.  Below the video is a complete transcript since some of the questions are hard to hear.


July 29, 2020
JACK RYAN: We would like to welcome Michael Thompson into the interview room at the
World Golf Championship's FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Michael qualified for the event by
winning last week's 3M Open, his second win on the PGA TOUR and first in over seven
Michael, welcome. And what have those last few days been like over those last few days?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Well, a little bit sleepless nights still, reliving the moment every
chance I get. So still very excited. Today's kind of the first day I've started to shift my focus
towards this week's event and what I need to do to prepare, thinking about the games and
the drills that I'm going to do on the putting green and chipping around this golf course, I
think is going to be key, and then I'm going to put in some TrackMan work on the range later
this afternoon. I've got my mind right, I think, today.
JACK RYAN: And you made a big jump in the FedExCup standings, up to the top-40 now.
What did that win do for you in terms of changing your goals for the rest of the season as we
get closer to the FedExCup Playoffs, with just three weeks remaining?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, I now believe that I can be consistently in the Top 30 every
year on the PGA TOUR, and I have my best opportunity to make East Lake for the TOUR
Championship. Those are my goals now, is to make East Lake, potentially give myself a
couple more chances to win would be ideal, and just continue to go play Michael Thompson
golf. I don't feel like I need to do anything different. It's just go play, have fun, try to make as
many putts as I can and enjoy the ride.
Q. Michael, Justin Parsons has gotten a lot of credit for turning around Harris
English's game this season. You gave him credit in your post-victory press
conference. What exactly have you guys worked on especially to get the iron play to
where it was last week?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: He's helped me to kind of rediscover the old feels that I had back
in college and back in Q-School, 2010, where the shot shape that I always like to play
growing up was kind of a low fade and felt like my iron play was always really good back
then. So the goals this year were to make my putting stand out as well as my iron play. Last
week was a perfect example of that. I feel like I also drove the ball well last week, but I'm not
the longest hitter in the world, so for me it's just all about hitting fairways and then getting it
on the green as fast as possible. But he's really good at helping me find the little feels that
create the proper ball flight. He's given me just so much confidence to believe that the
unique move that I do through the ball is good enough, good enough to be world class.
That's really just helped my confidence.
Q. Michael, I want it noted that the old guy figured out technology and the young guy
did not figure out technology.
Q. I think if I did this math right, I think you played every event except for two since
the restart, obviously adding this event. Will you make any adjustments going
forward? And is it kind of a concern of yours that you're going to end up playing
every week if you keep going like this?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, I made one adjustment, which really is a bummer, because
I like this event. I'm not going to play Wyndham now, just because I've played so much. I
was planning on having PGA Championship week off. And so before the FedExCup, I think
I'm going to need a week off. And that, unfortunately, just falls at the perfect time for me.
That will be the one adjustment that I make right now. I'm considering my options also for
the U.S. Open. I'm not quite sure what that's going to entail. It kind of depends on how far I
make it in the FedExCup. But that's all I've decided right now.
Q. And just listening to your interview on Sunday, is it safe to say that this victory
was more emotional than maybe one you had before; and why so? If you would
explain that.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Absolutely. And the simple answer is because I have kids now. I
have so much more to play for now than I did back in 2013. Not taking anything away from
that win at Honda, but this one, it just means so much more to -- for me to try to be the role
model that I want to be for my son and for my daughter and show them what it's like to work
hard and have success and to win on a big stage and what that all means. I think that's the
reason why I was so emotional on Sunday.
Q. Hey, Michael, congratulations. What was it like celebrating victory on Sunday?
And just how much time -- is the family -- have they decided to come here this week,
or how have you celebrated and what has it been like so far?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, my family's actually coming in today. They're flying in this
afternoon, and so we're going to celebrate tonight but with some cupcakes with my son. He's
all excited about that.
Then Sunday night, I actually had a really great time with my caddie, Damian Lopez, aka
D-Lo, what everybody calls him out here, and then also had a really great surprise that
Johnson Wagner and Brian Reed, who caddies for Kyle Stanley, and Joe Etter, who was
caddying for Johnson, they all came back to the golf course during my last couple holes and
stuck around that night, and we all had a couple drinks and the golf course put out some
sliders. We just sat there, told stories, and really enjoyed each other's company. So it was fun to get to celebrate it with somebody, and for those guys to stick around really meant a
Q. Is there someone that you heard from or said something to you, reached out to
you that really meant a lot to you since the victory?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah. Actually, yesterday Nick Saban actually gave me a call and
I got to talk to him. He was very proud of my accomplishment, the way I played and the way
I carried myself and what that means for the Alabama community. He was gracious enough
to give me that phone call. He also told me that he wouldn't want to have to hit that wedge
shot on the last hole. He was excited that I pulled that off.
And then also Jerry Pate called me as well yesterday. It was nice to get to talk to two great
representatives from the University of Alabama. It means a lot that they're paying attention
and staying up with the golf world.
Q. TPC Southwind annually ranks near one of those top courses in water balls. When
you're thinking about the element of water, what are your strategies going into the
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Don't hit it in it. Yeah, that's one of those courses, kind of like the
Honda, really where you have to plot your way around the golf course and really avoid all the
hazards. I think growing up in Tucson and playing 49ers Country Club, where I grew up
playing, and the municipal golf course, Fred Enke, are two golf courses where I really had to
learn to plot my way around a golf course and only be aggressive when I felt like I could or
needed to or if I was playing well. So I think those past experiences and time spent on those
kinds of places really helped me with both my wins, because both these wins are on golf
courses that I didn't necessarily think I would win on but have proven to me that I can play
on any golf course, because I've won these tournaments. I'm really -- I think that gives me
confidence and gives me a lot of excitement going forward, because I know I can play well
on any golf course.
Q. Seven years is such a long time. Was there a low point for you where you felt like
you might not get back to the winner's circle?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Not really. I think -- I actually think the win in Boise really helped a
lot to prove to me that I could win on any stage, and to do that in one of those four Finals
events on the Korn Ferry Tour, to me, that was really big in terms of confidence and knowing
that I can win again.
Granted, you know, in between all that time there was a lot of lows, because there were
times where I just felt confused by my golf swing and where the ball was going and just a
real lack of trust in that. Thankfully, my putter never wavered, I never changed anything with
putting. That confidence still stayed very, very high. So I think that's what carried me
through. I think the win in Boise was paramount to maintaining my confidence that I could still play and still compete with the best.
Q. You and Webb have both shown that you don't have to be the longest of hitters to
win out here on Tour, but how hard is it when you're giving up 20, 30 yards
sometimes to guys?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, it makes us have to be that much more precise with our iron
play and with our accuracy. We don't have the luxury of being able to miss many fairways or
miss many greens. If we do, we have to be magicians to make sure that we don't make
worse than par. I think it definitely puts a little bit more pressure, but at the same time, like
that's just my game. I'm not putting any more or any less effort into my golf swing than, say,
Brooks Koepka is. He just has the ability to hit it further. So for me, I'm doing everything I
can in order to play great golf. And there's always going to be a way for me to get around a
golf course that will produce a number similar to those guys. At the end of the day, guys can
hit it 330, 340, and have a wedge into a par-4, but if I hit it in there close with a 6-iron and
they hit it in there close with a wedge, we've still got to make the putts. To me, the end score
is all that matters and it doesn't really matter how you do it.
Q. You mentioned the rough. This was one of the toughest courses in proximity
within 125 yards from the rough. What's tough about hitting wedge shots out of this
kind of Bermuda?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Well, anything can happen. You can catch a lot of the flyers, which
takes spin off as well as, if the ball's sitting down, it can come out just really dead. So it's just
really hard to judge how the ball's going to react off the clubface. Any time there's doubt like
that in a professional golfer's mind, that's when golf becomes difficult, because there's
options, right? We can use different clubs and try to hit different shots. And on top of that,
some of these greens are pretty small, so the landing area in order to get it close or just get
it on the green is not very big. It just makes you think, and I think that's what makes it
Q. Michael, you mentioned Brooks and your struggles. When you see a guy that has
accomplished as much as he has the last couple years and his struggles right now,
what does that say about the difficulty of this game and how nobody's immune from
the ups and downs?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Yeah, I think that's what -- that's the beauty of this game, is
everybody's going to have their own struggles and everybody's going to have their own
journey through professional golf. I feel like I'm blooming rather late, but at the same time,
10 years ago the peak performance for most guys was in their 30s and early 40s. To me, I'm
no different than anybody else. Ernie Els struggled with his putting for the last few years.
Things change over time. Our eyes change, our bodies change, the feels that we have
change. The only thing that doesn't change is the game of golf. You've still got to hit the
shots and you've still got to make the putts. It's just something we all go through. Hopefully,
it's not a period that's going to be too long for him. It was fairly long for me, but at the same time I'm better because of it on the back end. I think that's what makes this game so
intriguing, is just it's so similar to life and the ups and downs to life that it really tests our
reaction to it and our attitude. And I think those guys who are the most positive and have the
best perspective end up coming out on top at the end.
JACK RYAN: Thanks, Michael. We appreciate the time. Best of luck this week.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: Thank you. Appreciate you guys.

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