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August 17, 2019
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Justin Thomas into the Interview Room after a phenomenal round of golf, 11-under par. Justin, if we can get some comments on a great day.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yes. It was obviously a fun day. It was just kind of one of those days where you get in a rhythm and zone and I'm trying to make more birdies. The of course is very soft and getable.
I felt good about my game for awhile and you don't know when something like this is going to happen, a round like this. We've all been talking the last couple of weeks that I'm due to have one and it's nice when it happens. At the end of the day this round was great and awesome but it's over with and I need to go focus on tomorrow.
Q. What was the best shot you hit today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Obviously the hole-out on 16 was great. That iron shot I hit on 17 I felt was really, really good. I think it was easy to get pretty wrapped up in the emotions and get the adrenaline going and I had to take a little bit off that 9-iron and obviously I mean the pin was only five on, six or seven over the water and if I'm trying to be perfect there and I don't hit it right, that very easily go in the water and I think it was five shots at the time so if I don't play those last two holes well, Tony or Patrick make a couple birdies, could be a 2, 3 shot lead.
Kind of calmed down and kind of stuck to my process and hit the number I wanted to hit and hit it so flush.
Q. Have you ever hit a 5-wood that well and even rank in your top two?
JUSTIN THOMAS: That 3-wood at Erin Hills was a little bit better.
Q. One round.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, probably. Yeah. I don't know. I'm lucky, very lucky that I had a couple to choose from today.
Q. What was the worse shot you hit today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The worse shot I hit, that drive on 12 was terrible. I mean it's such a perfect tee ball for me. I hit like a block, kind of tried to hit a little squeeze cut and blocked it and hit the tree and came back in the fairway. One of those days.
The wedge on 14 was pretty bad but it was weird. I was standing on something, I could feel it, didn't know what it was, right where my right foot was.
I kind of didn't turn through and after I hit I got down there I was standing on like a little log. I'm blaming the log.
Q. How bad was the warmup today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Warmup was fine. It was nice. I was in a great mood, in a great state of mind all day. Obviously you never know something like this is going to happen but I just felt like I've been in a good place all week.
Q. When you're going lower and lower and the adrenaline is getting higher and higher, what do you do to keep calm?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just really got like -- I don't know. Sometimes you get going out there, you get the goose bumps.
The chip-in on 14 was probably the most excited I got as weird as it was. Probably the most nervous, that eagle putt on 10. Really random. Honestly, there was this guy, I put my ball down and when I put it down he yelled "Noonan", and I was scared that he was going to say something while I was putting and I was like, "Man, does this guy hate me; am I going" -- I just was terrified that he was going to do something.
Luckily he didn't and I made it. So, obviously I was in a great state of mind on that putt.
Q. You said you felt like you were due and you guys have been talking about you, Jimmy, your dad, what kind of precipitates that feeling that this is around the corner?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Just -- I've been playing well. I've been hitting great golf shots. I've been making great strides with my putting, even on the days like maybe whatever, last week, or Memphis, I'm putting well if the ball isn't going in the hole. I feel better over it and seeing my line better.
In the middle of the season I don't do that. I don't know. This game, it's just so brutal and it's so humbling that over the course of a career you'll have so many highs and lows and I'm just trying to take it all in, if you will, and understand that.
This season has been far from lows. Even when I was hurt I missed three events and my life is great. Like there's nothing -- yeah, pretty easy to feel sorry for myself. I knew I was going to come back and if I did everything and got healthy then I could play some good golf the rest of the year and put in a lot of work to do so.
Q. Justin, obviously you shot a 59. You've had a 63 in the U.S. Open. So you have experience in knowing that you can go low, but the axiom is how do you follow a low one with another one or even a decent one?
Having had those experiences, what do you take into tomorrow after those experiences?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm just trying to get my lead to 7 right now. It's at 6. That's the only thing I'm focused on. I want to hit it on 1 tomorrow and hit a wedge in close and trying to make birdie to get to 7. You can't try to hang on, can't try to -- obviously there's certain situations or certain holes or clubs or whatever where you have to be more conservative or conditions, weather, whatever it might be, but I just -- I can't worry about what other guys are doing.
I do understand that guys are going to be able to go low but I need to go out and play my game and play how we've been playing the last couple days and last couple weeks and try to shoot another good round.
Q. Justin, out here when people say Medinah they think big, brawny, difficult. How do you explain what all the guys and you are doing to this place?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It doesn't matter what golf course it is. You give us soft good greens and soft fairways, we're going to tear it apart. It's just how it is.
We all have such great control over our golf ball and we know how far it's going to go and when we're hitting it well, obviously but we know how it's going to react and when the fairways are that much bigger and you put us in the fairway, I mean we're just good, you know what I mean? It's just the fact of the matter.
We had a windy day yesterday but the first day and today weren't windy. There's obviously plenty of long holes and the rough is penalizing. When you're around the greens, like on 14 today, you know if the greens are firm I'm making 6 there probably 8 out of 10 times.
With soft greens, even with the weird lie, I was trying to make that. If I land this here, hit it somewhat up in the air it's going to just kind of thud and make its way to the hole. That's just the biggest difference.
It doesn't matter the golf course. You give us -- you look at some places that are short but if they get firm and fast and long rough they're tough. The soft, it's always going to be getable.
Q. You touched on this a little the other day, said it's been kind of a weird year because you haven't won. Obviously not much difference from previous years.
Is that frustrating at all because you haven't won or is it a different level of frustration? Obviously you're not struggling in your game like you might have been in the year when your game wasn't there.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. I'd say honestly the most frustrating part to me about this year was just having to miss, having that wrist thing come up because I missed three tournaments that I feel couldn't set-up for my game any better and places that I felt like I could have won all three if not at least one or two of them, one of them being a Major, one of them where I won my first Major and one being a ball-striking course.
It was like -- not that you ever want to miss three events. Man, that kind of sucked. Three event stretch. Man, I was playing so good. I just drove the ball better than I've ever driven it at Augusta and I just was kind of like I am now or have been trending and I feel way better with my putter than I did then.
Everything is pretty similar but just putting it better. The frustration was moreso then. Now it's just understanding that it's golf and it's going to happen. Might be tomorrow, might be in Asia, might be in 2021, I don't know when it's going to happen.
But all I know, I've put in, me and my team have put in the proper work that we're prepared when we are put in that situation and that situation is tomorrow.
Q. JT, the way you win the FedExCup is a little bit different this year with the staggered start next week. Have you thought much about the importance of going into the Tour Championship with that two stroke lead?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not really. I couldn't care less, to be honest. I'm just worried about trying to win this tournament tomorrow.
Q. Did you have a number in mind for what was going to win after those practice rounds?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No. I'm terrible at that. I feel like every practice round I play oh, this will be like 12 to 15. It doesn't matter what the course is, how it's set-up. Yeah, like 12 to 15. It's such a blatant guess.
Obviously I was off here. Yeah, I'm bad at that. I tend to just stay away from that.
Q. Tiger was saying earlier in the week that technology has turned the driver into the easiest club to hit. Would you agree with that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, I would not agree with that. How fast a lot of people, him included, how fast we swing it, it doesn't take much for that ball to go really far off line. Trust me, I'll show you some drives that go pretty far off line, it doesn't especially feel that far off.
Yeah, there's plenty of guys. How Rory McIlroy drives the golf ball is the most beautiful thing every. He hits it so straight and fairway like every time. When he mess misses fairways they just miss.
To be swinging it in the low 120-mile an hour swing speed and be that precise it's freakish, honestly, him, DJ, Brooks, Jon Rahm.
I do feel like I'm really, really good driver when I'm driving it well. Consistently those guys are pretty insane. It's the biggest face so I guess you could make an argument that yeah, it's the easiest to hit because you have the biggest margin for error. The faster you swing it, the easier it is to hit off line.
Q. Those opening five birdies, were any of them any good or just kind of stunk?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The one on 5 was nice just because 5 is such an easy hole and such a stupid decision to try to hit this slice 3-wood out of rough. I was trying to hit it up in the left bunker.
I could do that and I mean the reality, the best I was going to make is 4. If I just hit an 8 I could hit a wedge and make 4 still.
That's one of those things it worked out but it was dumb. I shouldn't have done that. So, when I'm walking up there, not knowing where my ball is and I'm why did we just hit 3-wood and then to be able to walk out there with 4, that was nice and maybe a little lucky.
Q. On 16, things are kind of going your way for most of the day. When you hole a shot like that, what is the feeling like and what did you say to Jimmy, if you remember?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The first thing I said to Jimmy, "I got some of that Brooks Koepka money."
That's the first thing I said to him. Because that's another hole-out. Thank you, Brooks. But, no.
I just -- it was a good number. I just had to take a -- just pretty much a stock, smooth 8-iron and hitting it as well as I was with the wind off the left, I could let it work just right of it or at it and I mean it looked perfect line-wise the entire way.
Obviously you have no idea what the distance is or that it's actually going to go in. I felt like the thing is when you get that many under par sometimes you don't want, at least I don't want to stop.
I was pretty mad at that wedge on 18. That was not a good wedge shot. I wanted to make another birdie and shoot 12-under. I don't know. It was a great shot and nice way to kind of keep the momentum going to end the day.
JOHN BUSH: Justin Thomas, thank you for your time, sir.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports