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June 17, 2014

Lexi Thompson


MIKE TROSTEL: Good morning, everyone. Like to welcome Lexi Thompson here to the media center. Lexi is playing in her 8th U.S. Women's Open. Three top-15 finishes including a tie for 10th in 2010 at Oakmont. Lexi is also our 2008 U.S. Girls Junior Champion and a member of the winning 2010 USA Curtis Cup team. Lexi's qualified for the 2007 U.S. Women's Open as a 12-year-old at the time the youngest ever. Now we have Lucy Li who qualified this year at age 11. Have you talked to Lucy yet.

LEXI THOMPSON: I haven't talked to her at all but supposedly I'm playing with her today, so I'm playing the back nine with her, but it will be interesting to watch her game and hopefully get to know her a little bit.

MIKE TROSTEL: If you have any advice to give her for playing on a national stage at such a young age, what would that be?

LEXI THOMPSON: I made it to my first U.S. Women's Open at age 12. I was just so excited to be there. I practiced my autograph on the drive up there to Pine Needles and I was just -- it was pretty overwhelming. I got to see all the players I watch on TV and I was see excited to be there to tell myself, all right, I'm actually playing this week. But I would just say advice, just have fun this week. Take it as a learning experience. If this is what she wants to do for her life, she will learn off the other players and see what she needs to improve on. She's 11 years old, I mean she needs to kind of grow like I needed to grow and get longer and that, but my experience at age 12 helped me out so much.

MIKE TROSTEL: You've had a great year this year in 2014. Six top-10 finishes, three top 3s, including your first Major Championship, the Kraft Nabisco, where you beat Michelle Wie by three. Talk about how much confidence you have coming into the U.S. Women's Open this year.

LEXI THOMPSON: I do have a good amount confidence coming into this week. The win at Kraft Nabisco helped me out so much. Getting a Major win under my belt under that kind of pressure and those circumstances, but I've always imagined myself winning a Kraft Nabisco and it felt like my week when I got there. Coming into the U.S. Open it's the tournament I look forward to every year, being an American playing in your own national championship. The USGA always has the best or the most well run events, whether it's U.S. Juniors, U.S. Amateurs, and I always just enjoy it, no matter what.

MIKE TROSTEL: Open it up to questions.

Q. Obviously the U.S. Women's Open is widely considered the national championship. You talked a little bit about that. What would it mean to perform well and to possibly win here, especially given the run of dominance of foreign-born players in recent years?
LEXI THOMPSON: It would mean the world to me. Being an American and then having a win at a U.S. Open is like the highest honor, being an American in your own championship. So it's mentally a draining week, you have to take one shot at a time, not wear yourself out in the practice rounds. This is a tough golf course, as you saw the guys showed a little bit. But it's doable. So you just have to focus on one shot at a time, do your routine, just relax out there and not stress yourself out.

Q. How much of the Men's Open did you watch either on television or live and how much information were you able to glean about the golf course that you can take advantage of this week?
LEXI THOMPSON: Did you ask how much I watched? I watched a good amount of it on TV. Probably at least an hour a day of it, which is a good amount for me to watch golf. Actually, I came out the final day on Sunday and watched the final group for about five holes, just to get a feel of the golf course, see the different shots that they had hit into the greens or if they miss, if they putted it or hit little bump and runs, and just to get like a little feel for it. Walked a few holes backwards and just saw how it laid out.

Q. Is there an age where you're too young to win out here?
LEXI THOMPSON: Is there an age? It's kind of a tough question. If you're good enough, you're good enough to win. I don't think it's a matter of age, I think it's a matter of talent and what you bring to the table.

Q. Was there a point when you were out here that you were experiencing it and learning from it but didn't really think that you could win?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well I turned pr at the age I did because I felt like my game was ready to take to the next level. Of course my first few years out here I was playing on sponsor exemption, it was a lot different for me because I was used to playing week-to-week as a junior and amateur. And only playing about 10 to 12 events a year it was a lot different for me. But I went into every event thinking I could win. Being an athlete, if you go into a competition or an event not thinking you can win, you shouldn't go.

Q. What specifically did you take out of that 2007 U.S. Open and especially the second round where you had the higher score, do you remember as a 12 year old how difficult it was to sort of keep your emotions in check as the score ballooned?
LEXI THOMPSON: I don't really remember certain shots or my scores for them. I know I shot high, but just being there I was so excited and overwhelmed with everything, but I think that the thing I took most from that U.S. Women's Open was playing with my other competitors and seeing their games and what I had to do to play on that level and improve on. I was not long enough for that golf course, I had to aim for some of the mowed strips of the fairway and I just, I had to grow. I had to get longer. I had to improve on my game. But that experience, I told my parents after that week, it was like, I know I can compete out there, just give me a few more years. I worked my butt off to get there.

Q. What would you pinpoint as what has pushed you over the top the last maybe nine months or so? You've got a few wins under your belt, obviously Kraft. Is there something specific you could point to that maybe has pushed you over the top lately?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say in the last year or so it was more of just improving on my short game, especially on my off season. I worked so hard on my chipping and putting, I put in at least two and a half hours a day on just chipping and putting. Getting that under control, because not every week -- or not every day for that matter you're not going to have your great ball striking days. And you have to depend on your putting and chipping sometimes. And I think that's what gave me the confidence and put a lot less pressure on my ball striking.

Q. You guys play in a lot of hot weather, this is supposed to be brutally hot this week, any precautions you're going to take in terms of hydration or limiting your practice rounds or anything like that?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well it's supposed to be like 99 I heard. Well I'm from Florida, so I'm kind of used to the heat, but it definitely is hot. I played 18 holes yesterday, I'll just play nine today and nine tomorrow. Take it easy the rest of the day and not wear myself out. But I hydrate pretty much, at least one water a hole. Yeah, hydration is extremely important out here, especially when it's over 90 degrees.

MIKE TROSTEL: You're one of the longer hitters out here on TOUR. Do you have a certain strategy for Pinehurst given that it's a little different course given there's no rough, it's just the natural sandy areas.

LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well I tried to figure out a little bit yesterday. I get to hit a good amount of drivers out here. I think that the main key is the approach shots into those greens. I can definitely take advantage and take my driver on a lot of the holes. I think I hit maybe two 3-irons off the tees, but I would say that closer you can get to these greens, the better, because I'm sure they will firm up, the greens will, and you're not going to want to have 7- or 6-iron into them. But unfortunately some of the holes are pretty long, so you will have long irons in.

Q. Obviously winning this year is important, but mental preparation coming in here, have you felt better about coming into a Major than you come into this one?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, having that Kraft Nabisco win and getting my first Major win under my belt has helped me out a lot coming into this U.S. Women's Open. I definitely have a lot more confidence coming in this week. But I look at it as just another tournament, I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself. I'm just going out, trying my hardest, focus on one shot at a time and relax in between shots and not let it mentally drain me at a U.S. Open. It's just another tournament, it's just a Major, obviously.

Q. Golfers talk so often about how a golf course fits their game, looks to their eye. How does this fit your, the look of it, how does that fit what you're looking at seeing?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I think it's demanding off the tee. I think that you have to pick your lines. Some of the tee shots you can't really see where they land so you have to pick small targets to aim at. But some of the holes are playing really long, so you have to hit driver. And I think my length will help me out a lot on this golf course.

Q. One more question about 2007, if I remember your dad caddied for you that year?

Q. Is that correct?

Q. Was it nice to have him there? Besides, did he help keep you calm and that? How big a help was he that particular week at 12 years old?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, he helped me out a lot. Being at that U.S. Women's Open at age 12 I needed somebody who knew me personally on my bag. And he was my caddie for the first few years out as a pro. So it was nice to have somebody who really knew me personally. And to have my dad I can always go to him for everything, so to have him at that U.S. Women's Open meant a lot to me and I think it was very special to him, too.

Q. Sort of along that same line, your support system obviously is pretty good, but when you're at home with your brothers, if you're ever together, I know they're kind of all over the place, but what are the games like between you and your brothers? I remember talking to you when you were 12, 13 and you said it was pretty serious even then. What's it like now?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, unfortunately, we don't get together as much as we would want to, but I know when we get together around like the holidays all three of us, we go out and play our intense matches for money and stuff. There's a lot of trash talking and trying to get into each other's heads. Which is nice, because making noises, trash talking. So I come out here and it's like dead silent so I'm like, wow, this is so different. But they have made me such a strong person and player and I think that's why I've gotten to where I am today.

Q. As a follow-up, now that you have a Major do you kind of have some bragging rights?
LEXI THOMPSON: I can't say I've thrown it in their face too much, but like I said, it's pretty intense matches when we get all together. I definitely it allows me to trash talk a little bit more.

Q. The native areas or if you're Bubba Watson, you call it "stuff," can you talk about how much you've worked in those areas and do you feel comfortable that you can advance the ball to get to the green sometimes?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I hit about three or four shots out of the native area yesterday and I seemed to get a shot every time. But there are some knots of grass that you can get stuck behind, it's a matter of luck I guess whether or not you get stuck behind one of those knots but you can definitely get shots if you don't.

Q. The follow-up on the condition of the golf course, can you just talk about this golf course and how you feel, how you've seen it, especially after a week of the men being out here?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, the conditions on the golf course are great. At this golf course, it's pretty firm, so there's not many divots or anything, I'm barely taking divots here. As you saw at Kraft I take massive divots. But it's playing firm, the greens are fast, but they're in great shape. I'm really looking forward to playing. I'm sure it will get firmer as the week goes on.

MIKE TROSTEL: All right, Lexi, thanks so much and best of luck this week.

LEXI THOMPSON: Thank you very much.

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