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HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS


January 3, 2014


Michael Thompson


KAPALUA, HAWAII

JOHN BUSH:  Michael, first trip at Kapalua you made it look easy today, maybe get some comments on your round.
MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† I've been working really hard on staying patient.¬† Kind of clich√© but it's worked for me in the past and I've gotten way from it the last few years and struggled and very up‑and‑down with my game, so it's nice to start off the year with a great round and you can't beat this place.

Q.  Was it the conditions you prepared for in your practice rounds?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yeah, we had three different winds in the practice rounds.  We got the tradewinds one day, we got the complete opposite, I guess the Kona winds is what you call it, and one day is like no wind.
So today was just a little bit different, not quite the tradewinds, but a little bit more of the north/northwest and so I've really been quite flexible with what to expect.  I just know it's going to be windy and when it's windy you have to hit really solid golf shots.  So that's kind of what I planned for.

Q.  How soft was the course today with all the rain last night?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Pretty soft.  Especially into the wind, for example, on 18, hit a perfect drive right down the middle and I actually backed it up three feet.
From what I understand from guys that I've talked to is that that ball at least, rolls 40 yards.  So it's playing obviously very different and just everybody has to play in it.

Q.  You had some success at Sony before.  Can you give us an idea of differences, that course compared to this?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Sony is very narrow compared to this.  It's a lot more difficult to hit fairways.  I guess they usually play similar conditions in terms of firmness of fairways and greens, bermudagrass on the greens, that couldn't be any different.
The greens there are not as big.  I hit 16 greens today and quite a few of the shots were 30, 40 feet.  Whereas I hit the same shot there, I'm going to miss the green.  And the walk is a lot easier (laughs).

Q.  Some players come into this event having practiced and worked hard and others come in after eating lots of holiday cookies, which one were you this year?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I'm the latter.  I worked hard in the fall leading up to Asia and I went to Thailand in December, and after that I kind of took a break and took a few weeks off and enjoyed some home cooking.  It's cold so I wasn't able to get out very much.  Enjoyed the fireplace, and, yeah, so I'm the latter.

Q.  Does today's round take the sting out of last night's game a little bit?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Yes, very much so.  I was not a happy person last night.  You can ask my wife.  I didn't say much after the game.  But I came out here with a clear head which is good and just tried to enjoy myself.

Q.  You talked about patience earlier, but what technically did you do best in that round?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  I never got a head of myself.  I don't do a whole lot mechanically with my swing, any ways.  My only goal is to hit the ball solid.  I like to play a low fade.  Some people describe I hit the ball kind of high.  But that's what I'm aiming for, every time I hit a shot, is to hit a low fade.  I did that really well today.
I made a couple errant swings, but for the most part, I stayed in the moment, I never started thinking about the future, and just played every shot 100 percent effort.  So that would be the greatest success today.

Q.¬† Thirteen first‑timers here and you obviously had a great round, Streelman is doing really well, as well.¬† What's the key to being a first‑timer on this golf course?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:  Figuring out the lines off tees.  And also kind of where to hit into the greens based on the wind.  I was playing away from a lot of the pins, especially on the back side, there's quite a few on the left side of the green, probably three or four paces off the edge where you could have gotten in a lot of trouble and I just hit it to 25, 30 feet, just to kind of guarantee a par and at least give myself a chance to make a putt.
It's really just staying patient and you're going to give yourself a lot of opportunities just because there's a lot of wedges in your hand and playing so soft, you don't really have to worry about the ball kind of getting away from you.  You can really be aggressive off the tee.

Q.  What kind of, which hole was kind of the most difficult for you or which one stuck out in your mind?
MICHAEL THOMPSON:¬† 17 was incredibly hard today.¬† It was 550, playing dead into the wind.¬† I had 250 raw to the front, and hit probably the best 3‑wood of my life to about four feet and made the putt for birdie.¬† So if there was a skin game today, I think I would win that one, but that would be the most difficult today.
JOHN BUSH:  Michael Thompson, thank you, sir.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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