GOLFER Jonathan Thomson has revealed how he swapped traditional bricks and mortar accommodation for life on wheels at The Open and loved the experience.
Professionals are used to staying in hotels during big tournaments but the man nicknamed “Jigger” took a different turn after qualifying for the big event at Royal St George’s.
In between his sterling displays on the course, he retreated to a RV motorhome from a company that supplies Formula 1 motor racing.
It went down a treat.
Thomson, who spoke to the Rotherham Advertiser in association with coffee retailer Coffee Friend, said: “It is virtually like a glorified house on wheels. It was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done.
“I had missed a cut in France on the Friday before The Open so we drove straight from France on the Friday night and got to Sandwich on a Saturday and stayed the whole week.
“The R&A managed to set us a little site up with everything we needed and we had a concierge as well. There were a few other guys around like Stenson, Fleetwood and Poulter.
“We were really close to the golf course, about five minutes away. Logistically it was all a bit of a dream really because otherwise you have to stay 40 or 45 minutes away and traffic can become a nightmare.”
So good was the motorhome experience, Thomson intends doing it again.
“It would be a great holiday,” he said. “I would do it again if the time is right at a tournament because you have your home comforts. You can do all your own cooking and you have a massive bedroom.
“It made the week a lot more comfortable than it would have been staying in a hotel, which is basically what we do every single week.”
Thomson’s hole-in-one at Sandwich, his tall 6ft 9in frame and his battle against leukaemia as a kid have been well documented.
But it was the timing of his Open qualification and subsequent play that was particularly satisfying after the trials and tribulations of lockdown back in Rotherham.
“I know lockdown has been tough for everyone but when you do a job like we do and you get your legs taken from beneath you and there are no events to play or Government backing, it became Groundhog Day every day for 12 months,” he said.
“It was just brutal, especially with the awful weather we had at times as well.”
Rotherham’s other Open qualifier, Nick Poppleton, worked as a delivery driver for Iceland to help make a living during the hard times.
Fortunately that was something Jigger didn’t have to do to, thanks to the support of his partner.
“I was lucky I had a missus who kept working full time and supported me so I could still train as much as possible,” he said.
“Before lockdown I had a bad back injury so the first lockdown came at a decent time for me because there was no golf and I would have had to take a medical (time out) anyway because I couldn’t walk.
“In the other lockdowns I was very fortunate my missus has kept us afloat and helped me keep on the straight and narrow with the golf.”
It was during the down days 12 months ago that Thomson, who first honed his game at Rotherham Golf Club, took some difficult decisions, changing his coach and equipment supplier, having “hit a brick wall”.
His play since has proved the wisdom of those changes and now he is intent on driving more consistency into his game.
He added: “I have got some great memories from golf so far. I’ve played in a Major, had a hole in one in a Major. It is all great stuff but I want to win tournaments and big events, whether that’s Majors or on European Tour.
“I am also trying to get to the PGA tour.
“No matter how good you get, you will always strive for more and that’s what makes us all do what we do and pretty much why we do what we do to be honest.”
But for a play-off defeat a few years ago on the European Tour, Thomson admits life would have been easier the last couple of years but he can take the blows.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger — that’s always been my mindset. It has made me tougher and more resilient in the job I do.
“I’m still only 25. People think I’m 35,” he smiled. “I have time and there is also some really cool stuff around the corner. If I keep doing what I am doing then things are certainly on the rise.”
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A MESSAGE from a youngster with cancer has reminded golfer Jonathan Thomson about the most important things in life.
Thomson overcame lymphoblastic leukaemia as a child to forge a career as a golfer.
The experience helped shape the man he has become and he wants it to help inspire others in a similar position, hence why he was so happy when a special youngster reached out to him on social media.
“No matter with I do in life, golf or otherwise, I always put things into perspective because that (leukaemia) is the hardest battle I will ever win,” said Jonathan.
“I had a young lad contact me on Twitter. He has had leukaemia and is a keen golfer and that’s inspiring.
“I always looked up to professionals when I was younger so if I can inspire kids now who are in the same position as I was then to be honest that means more to me than anything else.”