MEMPHIS, Tenn. – When Michael Thompson won the 3M Open on Sunday, his first victory in seven years, his wife, Rachel, didn’t get to come running on the green to give him a big hug and kiss and he wasn’t able to cradle his infant daughter while doing his winner’s interview. That’s because the family was back home in Georgia watching on TV due to coronavirus restrictions, which, at the time, prevented family members from being on site. Instead, they had to make do with FaceTime.
“Before we even said anything we both started crying,” Thompson said on Sunday. “My son, Jace, was, you know, bouncing off the walls like every three-year-old does and excited to see me on the TV. My daughter, Laurel, was sitting in my wife’s lap crying. Typical FaceTime with the family.”
Well, with the Tour’s rules being relaxed beginning this week, Thompson’s family was flying in to join him on Tuesday and celebrate in style with cupcakes.
“My son,” Thompson said, “he’s all excited about that.”
But after waiting 2,702 days since the last time he won on the PGA Tour —Thompson did win the 2016 Albertsons Boise Open on the Korn Ferry Tour — he didn’t let the moment go without toasting his success.
“Sunday night, I actually had a really great time with my caddie, Damien 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,” he said. “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 lot.”
As did a couple of phone calls the former Alabama Crimson Tide golfer received on Monday, including one from head football coach Nick Saban.
“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,” Thompson said. “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 (former U.S. Open champion and fellow Alabama grad) 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.”
Thompson, whose only previous Tour win came at the 2013 Honda Classic, qualified for this week’s WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational by winning in Minnesota last week. He also earned a spot in next week’s PGA Championship field at TPC Harding Park.
When asked what made this title more special than the first, Thomson said, “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.”