December 9, 2020
Houston, Texas, USA
Champions Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: Please join me in welcoming Lexi Thompson to the interview area. Lexi is playing in her 14th straight U.S. Women's Open. When I say that, what comes to mind.
LEXI THOMPSON: It's pretty crazy to think about being 25 and playing my 14th. I've seen it all over my Instagram. I don't think I would have thought about it until everybody has said it.
It's just an honor to be here at the U.S. Women's Open Championship, and it brings back a lot of memories from being 12 and being at my first one.
THE MODERATOR: There's 41 first-timers playing in their first Open this week. What advice would you give them? What about this week is different?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, it usually plays very long and very tough, so it's a mentally draining week, but that's as major championships always are. But you just have to take it one shot at a time. There will be difficult shots out there and some bogeys, but you just have to continue with a positive attitude going into the next hole and know that you can birdie a few out there.
My first U.S. Women's Open I couldn't reach a lot of the fairways, so it was a lot different than I'm sure a lot of these first-timers out here this week.
Q. How has your preparation changed with the two golf courses?
LEXI THOMPSON: It's been a lot different. We're not using to getting ready on two golf courses, so I played 18 full holes yesterday and Monday, as well, and then just nine holes today.
Just making sure that I get both golf courses down, get my strategizing down and where I want to leave shots and where the best putt is, because there's going to be a lot more mid to long irons coming into the greens.
So you really have to think about just where you want to be putting from, and if not, if you miss, where the best chip is.
Q. We haven't seen you since Pelican. How have you prepared for this championship at home?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, well, I mean, I've changed a few things, but just same practice-wise. I've been working a lot on my short game and a lot on my putting, but just trying to get my ball-striking consistently down, making sure my miss isn't too bad.
But nothing different. I work extremely hard in my off weeks, so doing a lot of that and making sure everything is consistent coming into this week, making sure my mid to long irons are good and make sure I'm driving it well, because there's a lot of drivers out here.
Q. You have a new putter. How many times have you switched putters this year and why did you pick this one?
LEXI THOMPSON: I've switched a few this year, maybe two or three. I don't know honestly. Just trying to find something that I am very comfortable with. I've never used a Spider before, and I just figured with me I think I'm better with a bit more of a mallet in reducing face rotation.
So I changed a little bit of my setup, as well. So just trying to find something that I'm comfortable with and I just feel my strokes the best with that putter, I guess.
Q. Can you talk about -- obviously Tim has to be a quick study and you for him.
LEXI THOMPSON: Both ways, yeah.
Q. Is it easier to change putters or caddies?
LEXI THOMPSON: You know, I don't know. Tim is great. He's used to a whole different player. Definitely a lot more simple, I guess, out on the golf course. I don't carry a yardage book so I usually just ask for the pin number and where I should land it, and that's about it. I like to simplify things.
But he's great out there, great personality, and we just feed off each other and definitely a lot of laughs. Putter change is definitely difficult, but so is a caddie. I don't really know.
Q. I know you share with Bryson the same agent, but just the process of pulling this together right before the U.S. Open?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, honestly -- well, my manager definitely helped with this decision and just working it out. I don't have a full-time caddie right now. My brother, Curtis, will caddie for me next week and he caddied for me at the Pelican LPGA event.
It'll be a task just to find a full-time caddie once this year is done, but it's been kind of one of those years, you know. But my manager helped me getting Tim out here, and I guess he kind of jumped on the opportunity. I'm just very thankful to have him out there with me.
Q. How many shakes is he having you take? He's not going to try to turn you into Bryson, is he?
LEXI THOMPSON: Oh, no. Gosh, I wouldn't fit in my skirts. But he did ask me, do I have to give you your food and whatnot, and I'm like, no, I'm good. I'll eat every two to three holes and do my own routine, so I'm good.
Q. Apparently it's only happened once in history where the same guy was on a bag for a women's and men's champion. It's kind of an interesting wrinkle. I'm sure you weren't thinking about that in any way, form, or fashion, but it is kind of cool having a guy with you who's just come off an extraordinary performance with the men's U.S. Open champion. Can you reflect on that a little?
LEXI THOMPSON: I haven't really thought about it. I know people have said it. He's just a great energy to have out there. Whether you're playing good or bad I feel like he's always going to be positive, and that's what I need by my side out there, because major championships there will be some difficult shots and some bad ones, and it's just important to stay in it.
He just has a great energy out there, so I am looking forward to starting tomorrow with him and seeing how it goes.
Q. Along those lines, what are some of the elements that Tim brings, just from a technical sense of caddying that seem to jive well?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, first off, we get along with each other very well, so that's most importantly for me. Just getting me laughing. But of course having my numbers and everything.
But the first day that we went out, he has all the green density, the air density, and has that all factored in, and you know, it was unbelievable. Like the first two holes he said, It's going to play this number. And I trusted it and I hit it so close, and it was a perfect number.
But I'm like, Maybe I should just have another -- like the actual pin number in my head just for my sanity. But it's unbelievable like what he calculates. I'm like truly amazed. I'm like, Just keep it to yourself; just tell me what you think the shot will play.
But like I said, very talented and just happy to have him out there helping me.
Q. What are some of the nuances in general that you like or look for in a caddie when you're out there?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, like I said, for me, I don't carry yardage books, so I have a lot of trust in whoever is carrying my yardage book, doing all my numbers and everything. So there's a lot of trust involved.
But at the same time, I feel like the caddie-player relationship is the most important thing out here. Personality for me, just to keep me laughing in between shots, to have me talk about anything other than golf or the shot that I just hit is key. And just to keep me relaxed.
You know, I've said it before, but I just want my best friend and somebody to be there for me at my side, and at the same time doing my numbers.
Q. Do you have any golfing history in Houston, the Houston area? Have you ever played here?
LEXI THOMPSON: I'm sure I have. I know I played in the Spirit Golf Invitational. I don't know where that was exactly. It was at Whispering Pines. I don't know where that is in Texas, but I remember that one.
Q. How is your mindset now compared to had you been here in the first week of June when it was supposed to be played? How were you feeling then and how are you feeling now and is this ultimately a good thing for you?
LEXI THOMPSON: You know, honestly, I feel like conditions might have been a little different temperature-wise, but I think we're all just very grateful that we're able to play. And having the U.S. Women's Open Championship this year with the crazy year that it's been, we're just happy to have any opportunity that we have to tee it up.
Q. What did you do to your setup on your putting? You said you made some adjustments.
LEXI THOMPSON: Mm-hmm. I just moved a little closer to the ball, and obviously I changed putters. So just getting a little bit more straighter back straight and through.
Q. You're typically playing with the men in Naples this week. How bummed are you that these overlapped?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, very bummed, but obviously this one beats the Shootout, being the U.S. Women's Open Championship. I wish I was there playing with the guys. It's just an amazing event. Just so much fun being able to feel like I'm playing with my brothers, and just to joke around out there in a team event is always fun. But more important to be here and play against the best.
Q. Even when you're feeling healthy, do you face the pre-tournament COVID test with a little bit of trepidation? I ask that because Andrea Lee who tested negative last week in Dallas, is in the bubble, comes here, and boom, positive test and she's out.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah.
Q. It just seems like it's a bit of a crapshoot.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I mean, it is. You know, I know coming into these two weeks, this past week or two that I was home, I'm like, Okay, I'm going to be in a bubble. I'm not taking the chance of testing positive coming into the two more important weeks of the year.
I was definitely more careful, but you can only be so careful and still live a life and not stop, especially with us. We're always outside and training, so we do what we can. But I don't know, unfortunately sometimes things happen for a reason. We don't really know why, but we do what we can.
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