18 Questions With ... New HOF
Inductee Carol Semple ThompsonNovember 10, 2008She is known as the 'First Lady of Golf.' Gracious. Well
versed. Champion. All would describe seven-time USGA winner Carol
Semple Thompson. She spoke with the USGA's Ken Klavon about her
induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, her inspirations, and
of all things, worms.
How would you describe your emotions being labeled as 'Carol
Semple Thompson the Hall of Famer?'
Carol Semple Thompson:
Incredulity is the word that comes to mind. It's amazing that
they held me up to the caliber of all these great players.
Why are you so gracious all the time?
Because that's just the way I feel. I just don't feel like I'm
Where does that graciousness come from?
I don't know. Maybe from taking myself as an amateur as opposed
to proving I'm the best in the world, wanting to kill everybody.
I play the game for the love of it. I want to play well â€¦.
Who were your influences growing up while playing the
Probably my parents, first of all. And then a lot of women that I
saw play in the Women's Amateur and the Women's Open. There was
Joanne Carner. She was head and shoulders above us amateurs. She
hit the ball a mile. She won five or so amateurs I think - an
unbelievable number. I played against her and got waxed a couple
of times. She turned pro at a relatively late age.
Judy Bell was right up there when I was younger. She was fun
and made the game interesting. Barbara McIntyre was the same way.
I would say amateur women were my important people. Marlene
Streit was another one.
How has golf shaped your life? Has it defined your life?
It certainly has defined my life because since I've been out of
college it's been my main individual sport, although I love
horseback riding too. It's been my main summer activity for a lot
of years. And competition has been a big part of it, an important
part to keep me interested and keep me practicing.
When's the last time you played a round?
I played last Sunday.
Where, and how did you play?
In Sewickley, Pennsylvania. I only played nine holes. I played
As you've grown older, you've discussed how your game has
suffered. What has been the most frustrating part of it
Well, I think I've started to lose my concentration quite a bit.
And I don't quite want to spend too many hours practicing and
that leads to deterioration in one's game. So I would think
probably the mental part is the most frustrating. Since I'm not
working on it actively, it's like anything else - it slips away
and I tend to slip into negative thoughts.
Earlier in your career, you sought the help of a hypnotist.
Why did you do that?
It was a couple years out of college. Because my golf game was
seriously lacking, and this guy wanted to hypnotize me and I
thought it would be fun.
What's it like to be hypnotized?
I highly recommend hypnosis.
For me, it's relaxation and visualization. I love to lie down on
the floor and listen to a count that relaxes me. Once I'm
relaxed, I don't feel my body at all. I can just go into my head
and think all the good thoughts I want to happen.
Would you describe it as an out-of-body experience?
It's kind of similar. But if you said that to someone it might
make them kind of nervous. I think it's really cool to be relaxed
and still awake and think about positive things that will
What's something about you that someone might be surprised
That my sister and I raise red worms.
What do you do with red worms?
Red worms create
worm poop or castings for
gardeners. Red worms can also be used for fishing, not that I'm a
fisherman. We haven't sold any yet but we have sold some
castings. So I'm in there digging in the dirt putting oxygen into
it, growing worms. This is on a family farm like a huge fruit
cellar. We have concrete beds filled with peat moss and horse
manure. It's like composting.
Put you on the spot. Which is your greater love: golf or
I really love horses, but golf has been so important to me. The
competition has been the key. Of course winning doesn't hurt. It
would be a toss-up.
What song would describe you?
I'm not good at stuff like that. I like Whitney Houston things
that are upbeat. 'One Moment In Time.' â€¦ I like inspirational
songs. Not religiously inspirational. Just upbeat.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Marrying Dick Thompson. He's been key to my life.
Complete this sentence: the media is â€¦.
The media is really fun to work with.