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January 5, 2020

Justin Thomas

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

RACHEL NOBLE: We'd like to welcome 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions winner Justin Thomas to the interview room. Justin, thoughts on how that all played out.

JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't really know, to be honest. My adrenaline is kind of wearing off, so I'm tired, I don't know what happened, but all I know is I played -- I mean, really 16 I feel like I didn't play that poorly. I hit a great drive, just the wind got it, took it a little farther and a 70-yard bunker shot is not exactly easy, but I played 16 holes about as good as I could have played them in those conditions. I felt like I had total control of the tournament. I was doing everything well, and just kind of got between clubs on 17, made a great putt there for par, and then 18 was a terrible drive that left me on a steep, steep downslope and hit the wrong club, but we got lucky to where we had a chance and even more lucky that we were given more chances, and fortunate enough to get it done.

Q. Talk about that final shot you hit.
JUSTIN THOMAS: In the playoff? Yeah, I had 113 hole, and we just -- it was kind of a -- that pin is so weird because you can do so many different things, and that's kind of what I said to Jimmy. The wind was kind of quartering down and off the right so I either needed to hit something high and cutting that flew the slope to have some spin or I needed to hit something driving with a little bit more left to right on it to land up on that top shelf and roll down. I just felt like -- although it was actually funny, the first thing Jimmy said was, "What do you think is the safest?" I said, We're 113 yards, I need to make birdie; I'm not worried about what the safest play is, like we need to make 4.

Just for me I felt like my best chance was going to be to hit a cut sand wedge and we were trying to fly it about eight short, so that was playing I felt like about 95, so I just tried to hit a 95 cut sand wedge, and it looked like it was pretty close to going in.

Q. Loft on it was what?
JUSTIN THOMAS: 57 degrees.

Q. They say that you can learn more from a loss than a win, but I feel like this might be a win that you'll take a lot away from. Can you speak to that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, you should take something from every round, but yeah, it just was such a bizarre way for it to finish. I mean, something about this place I seem to have the tournament pretty well under control, and then I hit it in a hazard, on 15 and 17 I did it. But as long as it ends up the way it did, then I'm fine with it. But yeah, it was -- I feel like I'll be able to -- once early next week or after next week, I'll be able to kind of sit back and maybe think of some stuff we could have done differently.

Q. As a huge positive, 12 wins now, the most for anyone who's currently in their 20s on TOUR, and I think you just took over Jordan's spot there. Talk about the accomplishment of having so many wins.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I mean, personally it's not an accomplishment getting to 12. It's an accomplishment winning today, but I'll have fun with my family and celebrate it tonight, and next week we try to get 13.

Q. Curious about the pitch shot to the right of the green on the first playoff hole I guess it was. Of the three guys, you looked like you were least likely to --
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I was definitely in the worst position. I was praying that that ball stayed in the fairway so I could get my hands on it. I didn't have a very good number on the second shot. It was a 3-wood -- if I just pured that 3-wood, if I hit it like that it had no chance, and I couldn't get a 5-wood there. So I tried to kind of cut a 3-wood, which is hard to do downhill, ball above your feet, and I hit it on the screws. So when it went over, it just -- we went back there and I saw where it was, and I was like, you know, Jimmy, what do you like here, what are you thinking, and we kind of both agreed that we felt like a sand wedge was going to be best because less bounce and it wasn't going to dig as much, and it was very grainy and wet. I had the wind to my advantage where as long as I hit it hard enough to the left the wind was going to take it down, and man, when it was rolling I thought it had a really good chance to go in. But it was one of the better shots and definitely the best chip I've hit this week.

Q. Earlier in the week we sat here and you talked about, yeah, I definitely should have won more, I'm a little disappointed. Here you are winning more. I guess I'm trying to just gauge how that feels in light of what you said earlier in the week.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I mean, right now it's -- I don't know. It's been a pretty bizarre last two hours. But yeah, I mean, kind of like Ben said earlier asking about the winning and losing, I feel like I'll be able to really take a lot from this once I figure out what it was or whatever it might be. But yeah, I mean, it --

Q. Winning is winning?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Exactly, yeah. It's always nice no matter how it's done.

Q. Two things on 18 in regulation, a nice moment to reflect on. On the second shot you had, did you hit a bad shot or was it a bad lie?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was a really bad lie. It was the wrong club. I should have hit a 5-wood. It just -- I had no chance to get it to the green. The only good thing about a 3-wood was that it was going to cover more if I slightly pulled it, not hit it as far left as I did. But I mean, as steep as -- the thing is the farther down you get it, the flatter it is. I hit that drive so bad and so far off the toe that I didn't get it far enough down to be flat. It just was -- with a one-shot lead that was so stupid. I would have been better off hitting a 6-iron than a 3-wood. It doesn't make sense.

If I just would have made 4 there I would have won the tournament in regulation. Obviously if I made 5 I would have, but standing on 18 tee, I'm like, we make 4 we're probably going to win this thing, and boy, I botched it up pretty badly.

Q. I know some things take a while to digest, but after you missed the eight-footer and you're off to the green with head bowed and hat off, are you already digesting the pain of throwing one away?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, for sure. It's so weird. Xander had to go through the same thing I did with the wind on that putt. It really is not a hard putt. It's probably the two easiest putts that you could get to that pin. Xander's was probably straight, maybe left edge, and mine was right edge, something like that. But because of that wind, you know, the wind kind of picked up on mine and went low and the wind stopped on his and that's why his broke. Same with Patrick's putt on the last hole. There's no wind there, that thing goes in the dead center. It's just -- I don't know. I really don't know how I won today. I got very fortunate.

Q. After what happened on the last in regulation, were you at all worried about your second shot on the final playoff hole?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I wasn't worried. I don't like that second shot. I fat it once a year. I fatted it like twice this year. Something about it, it's just -- I like working the ball left to right, and you need to work that thing right to left, and for me if I try to draw it, my miss is going to be a little bit behind it, and then when you've got a huge slope behind you, it's really behind it. I mean, I had a perfect 5-wood number and a perfect lie, I thought, in the last playoff hole and I fatted a 5-wood again. I don't know what it is about that hole, but apparently I need more than a one shot lead, I know that.

Q. Along those same lines, have you ever played the same hole four times in a row in a tournament that you ended up winning or even ever?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, definitely not. I know it was the worst hole we could have possibly played to try to beat daylight. We picked a 680-yard par-5 with the wind blowing 30. I think a 200-yard hole we could have got in maybe five or six times. I was saying that to Jimmy, walking down the last playoff hole, I was like, man, this is a pretty bad hole to play when you're trying to beat daylight.

Q. You won this tournament back in 2017, arguably your best year, you won the PGA that year. How do you feel after winning this tournament this year compared to winning it in 2017?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know, I mean, they're very different. I was in a little different stage of my career then. Not that one win was better than the other or felt better. They're both tremendous accomplishments and huge for me, but that was a long time ago, and they were both done differently. This one was a lot more stress and a lot more hard-fought. So I'm probably a little bit more tired, a little bit more exhausted after this one. But they both ended with the correct result, which is nice.

Q. Should we expect a 59 on Thursday?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I hope so. Tell me where to sign, I'll take it right now.

Q. I know you have to digest it, but you hopefully will push this through --
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I'm not -- I haven't thought about anything next week yet. I'm just trying to figure out where I'm going to stay tonight because I missed my flight and I don't know what's going to happen. Hopefully I'll be able to find a room around here, and we'll get there tomorrow, and then once tomorrow gets settled then we'll worry about Sony.

Q. This may be a little bit repetitious, but what's the emotion because you don't seem -- like I'm sure you're happy you won, but is there more other emotions like relief and so forth that are sort of mixed into that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it is. It's just a lot. It was really hard today. If you went out there and played 18 holes in that, like you'd be tired at the end of the day just for how hard it was.

Q. And the 40 extra shots.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I wasn't going to bring that up. But trying to win a golf tournament and the grind and then just the emotions and how I was winning and then I was barely winning and then I was losing and then I barely got in a playoff -- just that takes a lot out of you. I probably don't seem as elated as I might be or as I would hope to be.

But it'll just take a little bit. Once I get back to the hotel hopefully with my family, I'll be able to enjoy it a little bit and we'll talk about it. But yeah, relief is definitely a word that comes to mind. But still very happy.

Q. You've had obviously a nice run since it started in Malaysia, but just curious, as much as you won, do you think it's underrated the fact that you're guaranteed coming back next year? Do you think about stuff like that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, I was stressing last year. I only had five or six events left to try to get in, and yeah, there's no -- that's the first thing I said to Jimmy on 18 after we won, I said, "We're coming back." I mean, I don't know. I guess everybody feels differently about this event because some guys don't come, families, whatever it might be, but man, I love starting the year here. It's a pretty nice feeling.

Q. I know you're in the moment, you've still got a big putt left, but as a competitor what's it like when you hear someone scream out "cheater" after Patrick hits?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Did someone do that?

Q. Never mind. I retract the question.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I didn't hear.

Q. You didn't notice that at all?

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