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September 13, 2017
AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'd like to welcome Justin Thomas to the Interview Room here at the BMW Championship. No. 2 in the FedExCup standings and most recent winner on Tour winning the Dell Technologies Championship for your fifth win of the season, the most on Tour.
Justin, it's been a wonderful season so far and a great start to the Playoffs. How are you feeling after this off week?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It definitely wasn't your typical off week living in Jupiter, Florida. I planned on, you know, kind of getting a day or two of rest and getting back into it Wednesday, Thursday and I was actually going to go to Chicago on Friday anyway and play some golf.
That turned into a quick two days of scrambling, trying to get stuff together and get stuff ready around the house and packed to evacuate for the hurricane.
It was a lot different off week than I had planned or had in my mind coming from Boston but I got as much rest as I could. I played a little bit of golf, not a bunch, but I've been practicing hard the last couple of days to try to play well this week.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: This will be your third time at the BMW Championship. You played once previously at Conway Farms. What's your thoughts on the golf course this week?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. It's a fun course. It's playing a lot different right now because it was very soft two years ago. So it was just kind of, you know, see pin, hit pin sort of thing.
You have holes like 2 or -- even like the green on 3 or just some of the longer holes that you're hitting longer clubs into, the ball is still kind of stick around where it landed, whereas now you really have to play for that 6 to 10 yards of rollout with the longer iron and that definitely makes it more difficult than it was a couple years ago.
Like I said, it's a fun course. It's short so you can have a lot of birdie looks and a lot of birdie chances if you're driving it well and just like to see how low you can go.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: You're 27 points from the top spot in the FedExCup standings. What's your game plan heading into the penultimate event?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I want to go out here and have a chance to win come Sunday. I know I'm going to be in the Top-5 going into Atlanta.
I much rather win next week than this week, that's for sure. I'm just trying to get my game ready and trying to hit the shots and just feel comfortable over the ball and over the putter and around the greens where I get to Atlanta next week I'll feel comfortable and ready to go.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Talk a little bit more about the evacuation plan, when you're just going to box up a few things and take them with you, what did you take, how -- what did you put in the box, how did you decide, just talk about that process.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I didn't do a lot. I probably overexaggerated in terms of having to do a lot. More just getting ready to leave sort of stuff because traveling for three weeks, I get stressed when I have to pack for one week let alone three and a half weeks, so it was just making sure you have the stuff packed, having to get dry cleaned, do laundry, get stuff around the house and go make sure this car is in the garage and make sure stuff outside, the outdoor furniture is inside.
I had to take TV from the outside, all my furniture from outside inside. Make sure all the cars were good and take pictures of everything in case if anything moved or stuff broke or anything and -- but in terms of packing stuff, I didn't really do a lot. I mean I took -- I had some valuables that I actually just took to Rickie's house down the street because he has a safe that's kind of -- that's built in the ground and is a little more sturdy than I may have and took the Wanamaker, took some watches and some other valuables and put them in there because I figured at least I have those if everything goes.
Q. You didn't actually evacuate, did you? Did you get an actual evacuation order in your area?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, we did. Mandatory evacuation. We both left Thursday.
Q. How was everything afterwards?
JUSTIN THOMAS: We got very, very lucky. Jupiter -- I shouldn't say we, I mean the State of Florida got hammered and it's awful the last couple of weeks of what the hurricanes have done and growing up Louisville I never had -- never had to deal with anything like this. You just have to deal with the tornado every once in awhile, but even those are usually never anything crazy.
It's still hard for me to grasp what damage the hurricanes can do because the one last year was supposed to be so bad and it really wasn't where I was and then obviously Irma was supposed to be just absolutely just terrible, one of the catastrophic, one of the worse that's ever hit the state and the country and it ended up being not as bad.
Like I said, it's hard for me to grasp. I'm just hoping that every place and home and family that was affected can have -- have a speedy recovery and everything can get back to normal as quick as possible.
Q. First of all, tell us more about the safe. Where is it located, what's the combination?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not my safe. I don't know.
Q. Never mind then.
Just looking ahead to next week, not that you want to look past this week, obviously, but you did say I'd rather win next week.
Just the meaning of winning the FedExCup to you and guys your age, I think it's different than it was for Tiger and other guys when it came along when their careers were more established.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. That's the thing. Tiger had so many accomplishments at that point in his career. Where do you put that on the list?
If I do something like that I only have one, two things to compare it to. He does it, he has about 20 to compare it to. In terms of that, it's definitely a lot different. It's a huge deal.
I've always been a big believer or just really felt strongly about if you can win something, an award or whatever it may be over the course of the year, like winning Player Of The Year and Freshman Of The Year in college my freshman year was a huge deal to me because that meant that I was better than everybody else that I played against for the year and that's a huge deal.
I mean it would be the same as winning scoring average out here or Player Of The Year or the FedExCup. It's a huge deal. I always take it very seriously or at least I do.
Q. Just to follow-up, we were talking to Dustin earlier and he was relishing the prospect of a $10 million bonus.
Does $10 million mean much, do you think about money when you're trying to accomplish these other things?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know. Never dealt with a number even remotely close to that. It's hard for me to.
Q. You're getting close.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. But I don't know. As crazy as it is, I mean -- it's not that I don't care, yeah, it's awesome but that's not going to be the first thing that comes to my mind, I want to win the FedExCup like it is a lot of other people.
Q. Couple questions, if I could. First, very general question, what do you think has been the key this year to unlocking the kind season that you've had?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I feel like I've matured a lot as a player and as a person. I think that's what's fun and cool about watching guys like myself or Jordan or Berger or Ollie, just so many of us young guys is guys like us versus guys like Rory, guys like Phil, J.D., whatever, is -- they're probably going to be the same for 15 years, whereas us, we're still growing up. We're 24 years old and we still have maturing to do.
Yeah, I feel like that we're all mature for our age in terms of professionally. Yeah, when we have fun, we may act a little younger than our age at times. I just feel like I'm growing, I'm getting older, I'm maturing and I feel that's gone back to the golf course a lot and I'm smarter, not making the stupid mistakes the weeks I play well.
But in terms of actual golf, I've been consistently driving it better this year and just my short game. That's -- the weeks I chip and putt well are the weeks that I'm always going to be in contention if I'm chipping and putting it well.
Q. And on the topic of the youth, there seems to be almost a fraternity atmosphere amongst some of you guys out here.
How difficult is it to go back -- that kind of atmosphere in what is a very individualistic and competitive game?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It just was there, we're not trying to build it. We came into the Tour with the friendship and bond. It's not really a rivalry. I think that word is thrown around a lot when it doesn't need to be but we just -- we came up with that.
We all played against each other when we were 15, 14, and we're 16, 18, we're 20 and now we're just at the top and we're under the scope all the time and we're competing against each other and we're having just as much fun now as we were then. Like I said, we're out on Tour and battling out to win tournaments and Majors.
Q. How is the FedExCup similar to a Major and how is it difficult for you guys when you kind of going through the process?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean the FedExCup is such a big deal because, like I said, it's a year long thing, it's -- you know the names that have won it have been very impressive, it's not like anybody had a bad year and then just slips in there and wins sort of thing.
It's hard to compare it to Major because it's so different, to answer the second part of your question, because it is a year long but, then again, at the same time you could just play really, really consistent all year and, you know, I mean you could, in reality, you could win a lot throughout the year but someone wins the Tour Championship they win.
That's where it's a lot different is that I guess in comparing it to a Major if you win that, at Atlanta, you win it all like you would a regular week in the Major but then at the same time it's different just because there may be someone that had a really good year that beat someone who had a really great year sort of thing, I guess you could say.
Q. I watched you and Jordan yesterday, you were dropping balls in the rough and chipping out, talking about what kind of shot to hit from there.
Is that pretty normal for you guys on Tour or just because you guys are really close friends, talking about how to get out of there and what each of you would do?
JUSTIN THOMAS: That's the thing. A lot of time we have practice rounds with guys we are close with, that we would feel comfortable doing something like that. You watch our practice rounds when we're really out there grinding and stuff like that, we're all chipping and putting from the same spots because we know where we're probably going to miss it if we do miss.
We know where we're probably to putt from some certain pins in terms of the same area that's normal. But I mean there's been times where I've played with Phil, with Duf, With Rickie, with Jordan where they are a little bit better at a shot than I am and I'm curious. I want to get better at it.
I'll ask them and maybe watch me hit some shots or vice versa. For the most part we're kind of hitting shots and trying to get a feel for how it's going to come out and stuff like that.
Q. Do you prepare any differently for a week where you know that there's going to be some low scores out there versus when the winning score is closer to par?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I guess so but it's more I'm prepared for the golf course more than I do the scores, if that makes sense.
Like you very rarely see a golf course that's short like this with high scores because it's shorter. I'm doing a lot of work from like 80 to 125 yards and then 150 to 175 yards because that's just -- that's where I'll have a lot of approach shots.
I'm doing a lot of work in that versus the harder weeks like the PGA or Augusta I'm doing a lot of work around the greens because I know it's a little longer, it's tougher to hit the greens, I'm probably going to miss -- I'm not going to have those rounds of the week where I hit 15, 16 greens everyday.
I may hit 10 one day, may hit 14, probably going to hit around 12. I need to rely on my short game to be able to get up and the four, five times in a round. In terms of that, it's preparing for the golf course more-so than the tournament.
Q. I think, might have been at the PGA tongue-in-cheek used the word jealous talking about having watched Jordan Spieth's success and everything.
You might have settled that issue.
But how much has his success driven you, do you think, being as close as you were?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. I think the want to win and the want to be known as a Major champion, the want to be a multiple winner and have records was driving enough for me.
That was -- it drove my more than one to do it because Jordan did it. Yeah, you want to keep up with your buddies, you want to win if they have more wins than you but, at the end of the day, I want to win because I like winning and enjoy being at the top of the list, whether it's a leaderboard or a points list or whatever it may be.
So I think he maybe drove me a little bit in the beginning but I would say more-so when I was in college when I couldn't compete against him, when I was finishing out my college season and he's out on Tour having a chance to win professional events every week, that's when I was like, "Man I want to get out, want to go play and try to win tournament events."
But in terms of now there may be times but, for the most part, I want to win because I like to.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: Any last questions? Justin, thank you so much for your time. Good luck this week.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports