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January 11, 2017

Justin Thomas

Honolulu, Hawaii

ALEX URBAN: We'd like to welcome Justin Thomas to the interview room.

Coming off of a win last week at the SBS Tournament of Champions, it's your third year in a row playing here at the Sony Open in Hawai'i. Just talk a little bit about the win last week and the momentum coming into this week.

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, last week was great. I obviously can build a lot off of it because between playing well and kind of how I handled the adversity after the double on 15.

But yeah, this is a great place. It's a lot different golf course than Kapalua. Fairways are narrow. It's a lot shorter. It's an easy walk. Not going to be tired at the end of every day. Just a lot of 2-irons and more just positioning and, I feel like Jimmy and I are getting a good game plan for the course to try to take it apart a little bit.

Q. Last week, you said after the second CIMB, you felt more comfortable. How do you think this week is going to be? How would you quantify last week?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Just more and more comfortable. Each win has been different. My first win, I think I was tied for the lead going into Sunday and I was kind of around there all day and really never got up by more than one or two or whatever like that. And then I was four back the second time, and then I went to three for our up and it was kind of like back and forth. Then last week, starting Sunday with the big lead.

I just feel like I'm learning different ways to win. It's different each time and it's hard each time. But I've been fortunate enough that each time it's been different, and I feel like I've -- I felt like I've found a way to handle it. So I guess it's just getting more and more comfortable.

Q. Covering you last week, and when things went a bit awry there though 15; 16, you had the opportunity; and then 17, you get to the hole that's played the toughest for the week, and you deliver probably the two shots of the week. Speak to the mind-set and the emotions coming through there.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I felt very comfortable. Even the double on 15, I wasn't -- I mean, I really didn't feel like it was from nerves. It was just a bad swing. And then all I had to do was -- I know right is not very good, especially that right pin. I was just trying to get somewhere on the left side of the green and let it feed. I just -- yeah, I just hit a bad golf shot. So I wasn't going to let one shot change my mind-set or change the fact that I knew that I was playing well and hitting it really well.

Yeah, at 17, I probably never would have hit 3-wood unless I hit it through the fairway on Saturday like I did. So we just decided to just hit 3-wood down there, because I knew if I hit a good one, I was going down there and have enough wedge and 9-iron in. I just barely thinned it. I wanted to get it past the steep downslope I was on.

It's a tough lie to be hitting off of, especially in that situation. I had a club where I had a full shot, which is great in that situation. You don't want to be kind of trying to finesse something. Just make sure I follow through it and make sure I get good contact, and as soon as it came off, it was going for the pin and I knew it was going to be a good shot.

Q. Winning is obviously the end goal of any week that you compete. It's an exciting thing, I'm sure, but how do you come down off that excitement and try and refocus? How do you almost flush it from your system, or do you even try?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I didn't really -- I never really celebrated. I mean, I had obligations I had to do Monday, were pretty early.

Honestly, I was exhausted. I had no desire to stay out all night and do this or that. I have another big tournament this week and a chance to try to win, and then I have two weeks off. I can do all the celebrating I want when I get home.

But I have another tournament this week I try to focus on, so I've really more so just tried to catch up on rest and try to get my body feeling good again. It takes a lot out of you, winning. And not just winning, being in contention, it's draining.

The 5:00 A.M. alarm didn't help anything this morning. So I'll be asleep nice and early tonight. I just think I need one more night's really good rest and I'll be back to normal and feeling good again.

Q. What did you do to celebrate the win in Malaysia?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I had a drink with my friends -- no, no. Going to China at next day. So I had some friends that were there with me, so just tried to make it fun, I don't know.

Q. It was announced officially that Jim Furyk is The Ryder Cup captain for 2018. Your thoughts on that, and what kind of a relationship do you have with Jim?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's awesome. I mean, he's a great guy. I think he'll be a great captain. Hopefully I'll be able to play for him. Ryder Cup is something I've always looked forward to playing in some day and something I've always dreamed of.

I've put myself in a little better position now, moving up the World Rankings and stuff like that. But there's a lot of things that will come before that. But I've gotten to know him a lot more over the last, you know, year or so, just playing in some tournaments.

Playing with him at Travelers this year: I played with him Thursday, Friday, and in all honesty, didn't look much good with making the cut. He had an unbelievable final five holes to make the cut before his 58. That's something I'll never forget. Just playing with him and us talking about that; that putt that he made on 9 to make the cut, he didn't realize how important it was going to be, how big it was going to be.

I'm excited for it. It's a big deal and a great honor, and hopefully I'll be able to play for him. Would be really cool.

Q. Speaking of friends, you're out there with Jordan and Daniel Berger for the first two rounds. Speak to that a bit.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I played with Jordan a pretty good bit obviously in tournaments now. I played with him I think three times. We played in Malaysia the first two days last year, and then we were in the final group together in Phoenix on Saturday our rookie year.

Other than that, we haven't played -- we're all good friends, but I'm sure it will be good fun and be a lot of making fun of each other between shots. But at the same time, I know we want to beat each other pretty badly, so it will be serious.

Q. Last week we talked to Jay Monahan and one of the first things he said when he talked about goals for the year, make Arnold Palmer proud. How much interaction did you have with Mr. Palmer what has he sort of meant to you at all?
JUSTIN THOMAS: What was cool for me is my grandpa playing professionally for as long as he did. He played with Mr. Palmer, Mr. Nicklaus. There's a picture that my dad has in his office that it's just so cool, Mr. Palmer's putting and my grandpa is in the background puffing (ph) with a cigar like he always is. I mean, that was pretty cool to me, and I know it was to him and my dad, as well.

I've played on two Palmer Cup teams and I was fortunate enough to meet him at the Palmer Cup that was in the States. He was there when we were teeing off on the first tee, taking pictures with him and spent some time around him, going to watch (ph) a time or two. Everything he did for the game -- I think the thing is, you know you're an unbelievably big deal when you're still doing things for the game after what's happened. I think the tradition, his legacy will always carry on.

All we can do as professional golfers is just try to strive to be like him I think. Yeah, it was a sad day and a sad week but at the same time, you have to look at that as a celebration of an unbelievable life and career and opportunity for us to try to do what I can.

Q. When you were a rookie out here, use this tournament as an example at the start of the year, was there anyone that, I don't want to say intimidated you playing-wise, but just being around you, that you had not met yet, veterans, and did you feel any kind of sense of deference that takes a year or a win to get over?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Like golf-wise or just as a person-wise?

Q. Being on TOUR. Just being around -- (off-mic).
JUSTIN THOMAS: You know what, it wasn't too bad. I was a little nervous around Sergio at first. I don't know why, but I think because I never really had any interaction. Most of the guys, I had somewhat interaction with. I was a little bit like that with DJ. I had never really talked to DJ either. Now Sergio I think is one of the nicest guys and I'm good friends with DJ now, too.

There wasn't too many people. I've always been one that -- I mean, I'm not very quiet, as you know. I'm going to talk and have fun walking on the range and talk to him, talk to him, say whatever. But there really wasn't too many people.

Q. When did you first play with Sergio?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I played with him on Sunday at The PLAYERS when he was in the playoff. He made that like sick 50-footer on 17 -- second-to-last group. Yeah, I was two back with eight holes to go with a 4-iron in my hand at 11. I had just as good of a chance to win that tournament as he did.

I don't know, we just got a long that day. We talked --

Q. (Off-mic).
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't remember (laughter). I don't really know what was going on.

Maybe Henrik a little bit, because he's Henrik; he's huge. And then you get to talk to him and you realize he's like the most sarcastic, one of the sneaky-funniest dudes out here. But there wasn't anybody that I was legitimately scared or terrified to be around.

Q. Not to get in specifics, but you've always put your goals into your phone. When you get off to a start like you did this time, have you ever gone back in and adjusted them, added, taking something away?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I haven't, no. I haven't looked at them since I first wrote them down. But no, I don't. Also I've never been to the point where I've achieved them so early -- I shouldn't say achieved them, but achieved something so early, if that makes sense.

Malaysia was I guess near the end of the year, sort of thing. But I mean, I guess at some point, I'll look at them eventually in the season to see how I'm doing or anything like that. But if I -- hopefully I'm going back to changing a little bit, because that means I'm doing some pretty good stuff and pretty amazing things. Maybe I'll get back to you in the middle of the year and let you know.

Q. Do you know who will be in the Bahamas this year?
JUSTIN THOMAS: We don't even know when we're going or if we can go just because of all four of our schedules matching up. We just got lucky last year and I don't know if we're going to be able to do it every year. I guess we'll wait and see. Who knows, may be going next week. You never know.

ALEX URBAN: Thank you for your time, Justin. Appreciate it.

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