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February 1, 2017

Justin Thomas

Scottsdale, Arizona

MARK WILLIAMS: Thanks for joining us. You're leading the FedExCup, not surprisingly after three victories on the season. You're coming in here with a fourth victory overall, but coming in here, you have played here a couple times, top 20 the first time you played and missed the cut last year.

Just talk about this event and how different it is from every other event on Tour.

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's a great event. It's a lot of fun, obviously. It's totally different than every other tournament we play in terms of atmosphere and crowds, but it's awesome. It's like that way for a reason. It's really, really fun, and 16 is obviously great.

But I like the golf course. It's in perfect shape right now. It's pristine. The fairways are firm and fast. The greens are firm. It's a great test of golf, an unbelievable field. It should be a fun week to watch.

MARK WILLIAMS: A couple weeks away from Tour. You're back on it. How's your game?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's okay. It's not as good as I'd like it to be, to be honest. I took a week off completely, like I always do when I have two weeks off, and then just getting back into it, it took me a little longer than I would have liked.

We have been working really hard these last three, four, five days to get it where I want. That's where I really learned a lot about my game. I felt like the last couple of events is I don't need to be on my best to be in contention. I just need to be smart.

If I get out there and I'm not hitting it as well, I just need to be smart and pick my spots. We will see what happens.


Q. After you shoot a 59, is it easy to accept that that was just this great round of golf, or is it hard to not have expectations that you can shoot low more often, really low more often?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I mean, I fully had faith in myself that I could shoot a really low number, shoot in the 50s. It's nice to have that in my record that I have actually done it. I hope to have plenty more chances in my career.

You obviously don't know if that's going to happen or not, but I have always felt like I have been a person that can get pretty hot, and when I get it going, I can shoot some low scores. I guess it just kind of validated that a little bit.

Q. What was the hardest part about that? Jordan said mentally it's hard to keep your pedal to the metal, I guess?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, definitely. I was 9-under through 13, so it's golf, so you could always say you could have shoot lower, but I could have. But it is hard, but then again, at the same time, it's hard to go out and make a couple of birdies if I just went out and played right now.

It's just golf. Golf is hard sometimes. When you get it rolling like that, you just have to take advantage when everything is flying.

Q. You mentioned the atmosphere here, obviously 16. One, do you like it? If so, why or why not?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I do like it. But at the same time, I don't think there needs to be another one because you can't compare. I think tournaments have tried to replicate it and have a hole like that. It's different, because when you only have 2,000 people on a hole versus 30,000, those people that are yelling, you can hear. When you have 30,000 people on a hole and 10 of them decide, or 10,000 of them decide to yell at you, it's just noise.

It's cool. I like it. It's tough sometimes trying to hit a little soft 8-iron or 9-iron in there when you have so much adrenaline going. Like I said, it's cool to have one of those throughout the course of the year, and I think when I was a rookie, I was here, it's pretty nerve-wracking. It's totally different than nerves when you're in contention or nerves on a first tee. It's just so much adrenaline and butterflies. It's really hard to describe, but it's cool.

Q. If you wouldn't like to see another hole like that, do you think there needs to be more events that integrate some sort of, you know, atmosphere or something from this? Do you think there needs to be sort of some variety to some of the events in that way, or would you like to see that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, I'm fine with how everything is. I mean, 17 at Sawgrass is plenty crazy, and it's not anything like this. It's totally different. I mean, you'll get some holes at Quail Hollow. It's just places that get these feels and big crowds like this.

There is going to be places, in all honesty, when you get a big crowd, people that are watching golf, when you probably have the most beer vendors, that's where they're going to be. They will be around there. That's where they want to hang out.

All tournaments and everything, crowds are different. But like I said, I don't think anything needs to try to be replicated like 16 here. There's only one of them, and there is one of them for a reason. It's pretty special.

Q. How has your life changed since the 59? Do you think the perception of you on Tour has changed because of it?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think you kind of answered the question for me. To me, it hasn't changed at all. Nothing, when I look outward, has changed. I think it's more changed in y'all's eyes than it changed for me, if that makes sense.

I don't think it ever really set in. I don't think either win in Hawaii set in. I don't know what that says or if just because I kind of expect that on myself a little bit, but I still view myself as what I am, and what I think of myself inside and what I am of a golfer.

I think I realize more and more what it is, because I get so many questions about it. You know, when you sit back and think of I was just the seventh person to do it in the history of golf, it is really cool. It's an unbelievable feat, and I'm extremely proud of that, but I think it's more changed what has been happening to me than in terms of me internally, of what I think.

Q. How else have you seen the perception of you change after the 59?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just have more going on, I guess. I have more stuff I am getting asked to do, more things like that, but that's a good thing. That sure beats the alternative.

Q. You're paired with Phil and Adam where Phil is crashing your 59 Club there. Do you say anything to him on the first tee?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not the first tee, but there will be some point where he will say something about how many Majors he's won and this and that, and I will just ask him how many times he shot 59 in a competitive round. And then he will probably say something else about all the other Majors he's won and I won't have anything to say (smiling).

There are not many things I have on Phil, but that's one of them. I will make sure to remind him.

Q. He did mention he had three wins here and you guys didn't have any.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, this is just my third start, so, yeah, I think he will have me beat in those terms.

Q. After the back-to-back wins, how much different do you expect the experience for you to be this week now that some of the more casual fans and everyone here will know who you are and you will be more of a draw kind of throughout the week?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, it's really cool to get paired with someone like Phil here, because you take someone like Phil or Rickie, they will be paired with the top guys in this event because they are some of the biggest draws.

Phil's crowds anywhere but here will be pretty crazy. I was really excited when I saw that I got paired with him just because I feel like that's, you know, it's a compliment to myself from whatever, the Tour, whatever you want to call it.

It is going to be different. Like I said, it definitely beats the alternative of nobody knowing who I am. That means I have done some good stuff.

But just like any tournament, any opportunity, just going to try to embrace it and enjoy it. Hopefully give them a reason to cheer me on and not boo me.

Q. So you said that these two wins, amazing, by the way, didn't really change your sense of yourself all that much. One of the big things about being out here is knowing that you belong, so if it wasn't after those two weeks, when did you know you belonged out here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Probably right when I turned pro or right when I got my card. That's the reason I did, and I don't mean that in a cocky or arrogant way. I had an opportunity to turn pro after my freshman year, after wining Player of the Year.

Obviously my stock would be pretty high, but I wasn't ready. My game wasn't ready. I didn't feel like I was mature enough. But after my sophomore year, I felt my game was ready. I had played in enough Tour events as an amateur. I had been around the hunt a couple of times to where I knew that I could compete. And when I turned pro, I mean, between my family and my agency that I went with, we wanted to know that when I was leaving school, when I was going to the professional ranks, that I was going to be ready to play against the best.

Obviously, because of Q-school, now that takes you to the Web, but even the exemptions I got, playing in Tour events, I felt like I did belong out there, that I could belong. Obviously I'm a lot more confident now than I was then, but still, I felt pretty early in my career, I felt like I could play out here with these guys.

It's nice to be here, you know, here and four wins as opposed to none or whatever it was before.

Q. It's been a couple of weeks since those wins. Even if it hasn't set in, have the goals changed? Looking ahead to that tournament in a couple of months from now, does that sort of change your perception going in?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, the goals haven't really changed. I have had high goals going into the year and into the season, but it's nice that I can at least cross a couple of them off. But there is still plenty, plenty more that I'd like to achieve and work toward.

But definitely the Majors were a big thing this year, and obviously the Masters coming first. I will do a lot of preparation getting ready for that and getting ready for the rest of the Majors.

But I'm just so amped and excited to play in those. Obviously I'm excited to play this week, and LA, Honda, so on, but I always have that tournament in the back of my mind, especially in off weeks. I'm hitting on the range, hitting draw drivers, hitting it for 13 at Augusta, I'm hitting it for two. Just that course and that tournament is always in my mind.

As you can tell, I'm excited.

Q. Your wins shows that you are playing very well, and you said about faith. Do you have the faith or the time, like every tournament you enter you have faith to win tournament?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, otherwise I wouldn't enter, I wouldn't be trying to play. I expect -- you can't realistically expect to win every tournament you play in. That's just not realistic, but I expect to at least have a chance to win. And I understand there is only one person that wins every week, and the percentage is never going to be in your favor.

Some of the best ever play the game, the winning percentages are pretty low. That's just how it is. But I expect that if I put in the proper preparation the weeks before or the days before leading up to the event, then I should be able to at least get around the course well enough to be around the hunt or have a chance to make a run on Saturday to get in contention.

But I understand there is going to be weeks that that doesn't happen. That's just how this game is. But you just have to try to ride out the hot streaks as much as you can.

Q. You talked about checking off goals and expectations. Do you have a set of long-term goals and goals that you set every year when you go out here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I have goals that me and my team or my team and I, my caddie Jimmie, he will put his goals down, my dad puts his goals down, Matt Killen will put his goals down, and we will send them to each other. I don't share them with anybody. We keep them between us so I don't get constantly reminded every time I do an interview of why haven't you achieved this goal yet? (Smiling.)

But it's more year to year. I mean, I think anybody could guess long-term goals, winning Majors and, I mean, Olympic medals and Hall of Fame, stuff like that. But by putting in the work week to week and month to month, year to year, and achieving my goals for the year or trying to, then I feel like the long-term goals will be more achievable.

Q. You said that you would rather win Ryder Cup than a Major. Do you still feel that way? Do you feel that way about the Presidents Cup, as well?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I do, but I mean, it's different. Just because last year at a point I didn't feel like I was as ready to compete in Majors. I felt like I could, but I didn't feel like I had as great of a chance to win Majors.

And now that I have a lot better chance of being in the Presidents Cup -- like last year, I had to have a great year to get on the Ryder Cup team. This year, I still have to have a good year, obviously, but I don't have to have as great a year.

The way I looked at it last year is if I played my way into the Ryder Cup team, I played great. I won a couple times. I definitely was in Atlanta. I had a chance to win a Major or two. If I would have done that, then it would have been that way.

Whereas now, yeah, I want to be on a victorious Presidents Cup team, but it's a little different, if that makes sense. I would like to do both.

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