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THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP


July 19, 2012


Michael Thompson


LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND

MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† Yeah, we heard through other caddies that Russ' back was hurting him, and so it was just kind of an outside chance and just ‑‑ I got here anyways at 5:30 in the morning, so I've been waiting around for a while and found out at 9:00 a.m. that I got in.¬† So that gave me a little bit of time to prepare mentally for the day.
But, you know, it was a great opportunity, a great chance.  I'm glad I came over.

Q.  Where were you specifically when it happened?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† I was in the player family marquee tent, the player family dining.¬† And there's a guy works for the R&A who handles all of the entries, and so he just‑‑ he was sitting there and he walked‑‑ actually he was outside.¬† He walked in and told my caddie and then told me that it was official, so we all smiled and got excited.

Q.  In terms of getting ready, my understanding was that alternates have gotten a chance to at least do some practising, is that correct, you played the course a couple of times?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah, I did.  I played 18 on Tuesday and nine on Wednesday, so I was prepared, just as getting ready to play any Tour event.  The only downside was having to get here at 5:30 in the morning.
But, you know, that's what I had to do and I did it and everything worked out.

Q.  I was just curious, after what happened yesterday after Robert dropped out and Ben not being around, what was that like for you, again, knowing, obviously, that because he didn't come overyou had a spot? 
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I figured probably by midday yesterday if he wasn't on a plane already, I'd be moved up to first alternate.  And Robert Karlsson, his withdrawal kind of surprised me.  I wasn't really expecting anybody besides maybe Russ, but I knew he wouldn't make a decision until early morning today.  So, you know, it was just good luck, God's will, whatever you want to call it, that it all worked out in my favour, I guess.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I have.  I was alternate last year at the Bob Hope or the Humana Challenge now.  And I was third alternate starting the week and then ended up second alternate, so I missed getting in, but I was there until the last tee time on Thursday.
And then I was fortunate enough to grow up in Tucson so I was able to drive home and visit my parents and whatnot.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Right.  That's kind of the attitude I went out with today.  Just go out and give it my best, try as hard as I can.  The putter wasn't working today, unfortunately not like at the U.S. Open.  But that's the way golf is and we'll go out and get it tomorrow.

Q.  Curious, given the fact that you played so well there, do you have more confidence going into today?  Or how did that affect your approach this week?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah, anytime you have a week like that it gives you confidence.  It doesn't matter where it is.  I think this being my second major as a professional, it definitely gave me confidence knowing I can go out and compete against the best players in the world.  This is a little bit different venue than The Olympic Club.  I've only been here once for the Palmer Cup, so very limited little experience, whereas the Olympic I had a lot of experience.  Again, try to go at it just like it's another tournament and go play my game and got to convince myself tonight that I'm going to make putts tomorrow.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Right.  Right.

Q.  Tom Watson said a minute ago that he's found something on these greens.
MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† Yeah, no, it's very different for us Americans coming over here and playing just with the speed of the greens because we're used to 12 on the Stimpmeter, and these are 8 or 9, and so it's definitely an adjustment.¬† It reminds me a lot of playing on the Hooters Tour, the speed of the greens.¬† These are a little smoother than playing on the mini‑tours.
But it's just all about getting a good mindset, having a good feeling, seeing the ball go in the hole before you hit it.  And the better you're able to do that, the better you're able to visualise that happening, the easier it is to make putts.  And these greens are a little different, a little interesting in that there's a lot of little mounds.  And so you're putting over a lot of little mounds, which makes reading the greens a little difficult.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah, I mean it's always helpful seeing a lot of good shots.  They both played really well today.  I felt like I was keeping up with them for the most part, most of the round.  Again, just I couldn't make any putts.  I gave myself some good looks.
And a few wayward tee shots on this golf course and you're in deep trouble, literally.  And I guess that's the way Open golf is, and you've got to keep it in the short stuff.  It doesn't matter if it's the fairway or there's intermediate rough.  As long as you have a swing at the ball you can score well.  That will be my goal tomorrow is go out and hit fairways and, again, make putts.

Q.  What would you be doing if you hadn't gotten in today?  Would you stick around a couple of days?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† Yeah, we were going to catch a charter to the Canadian Open on Sunday.¬† Yeah, so we were going to stick around.¬† We were planning on going into London and sight‑seeing.

Q.  What are you going to do the rest of the day?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I'm going to go on the putting green and really visualise putts going in the hole, kind of try to hit putts that I know I can make so I can get used to the sound of the ball rattling in the cup.  That's addicting to me, so I like that sound, as probably most pros do.  But just go and relax.
I know my tee time now, so I'll be able to mentally prepare in the normal amount of time that I do, just like any other round.  So just going to do a lot of visualisation, try to gain some confidence mentally.

Q.  Try to get some rest?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah, that, too.

Q.¬† Do you owe Ben Crane anykind of ‑‑
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah, I'm going to buy him a drink next time I see him.  This is a great opportunity with my first British Open and hopefully the first of many.

Q.  When did you decide that you were going to come over?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I really decided the moment I found out I was right behind Ben.  It was kind of weird this year in that the field was basically overbooked.  And so I guess starting midweek last week I was No.162.  But like I expected the two spots to be filled last week.
And so I just basically said that it's an opportunity to come over here and practise, prepare, just like any other tournament.¬† And for a British Open, that's experience that I need for the future.¬† And so‑‑ and if I didn't get in, again, we'd go sight‑seeing, because it's fun as an American to be over here and do all that stuff.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† I think World Ranking.¬† So I think‑‑

Q.  T2 at the U.S. Open?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† A lot of guys, a lot of caddies have come up to me and asked me what the deal is, and I guess the R&A didn't award‑‑ it used to be top five, I believe, that got in and they've changed that.¬† It is what it is.¬† No big deal.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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