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January 30, 2020

Justin Thomas

Scottsdale, Arizona

Q. Talk about your opening round.
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was a bit of a weird day. I didn't get off to a very good start. I just, I just didn't know where the ball was going, to be perfectly honest. I kept hitting it, missing it left. And you, you know, you get to holes like 11 or 15, 16, 17, and you're, and 18, when your miss is left, it's not exactly appealing. So I had to try to make something out of it. Felt like once it warmed up and once my body got moving a little bit, I felt like I started hitting some better shots. And hit a lot of really quality putts, even the ones that didn't go in, they were all really good putts, rolling nicely. The speed was off or I just didn't read them right. I felt like I got kind of a bad break on 1 and my chip shot, it landed right on a ball mark and it just kind of took all the spin off of it and it went off the green, but it was a pretty bad wedge to hit in the first place. But overall, I felt like to start the day 3-under was pretty good.

Q. How did it feel to wear the Kobe jersey?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It felt great. I've played a lot of golf in that, believe it or not, so it felt pretty comfortable.

Q. What are your thoughts several days after this happened, as you think about Kobe?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's awful. It's not just for him and his -- and Gigi, it's just for everyone that lost their lives and their families. So just for me, he had such an impact on me and he was such a person that I looked up to and tried to kind of have my mental approach like that, I felt like it was very fitting. There's only one tournament all year you can put a jersey on and hit a swing or hit a shot and it, just the timing worked out to be here, so it was a no-brainer for me.

Q. Have you had the jersey for awhile?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I've had it for probably four or five years.

Q. Why did you pick that one?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know. I brought my Lakers one too. So I don't know, it's just, it's, that's just always been one of my favorites. I have a lot of jerseys. It's always been one of my favorite ones just because Kobe has always been my favorite and not many people have a Lower Merion jersey. A true fan knows what it actually is. It also goes a little better with the outfit than purple and gold.

Q. (No Microphone.)
JUSTIN THOMAS: Here? I've never put anything.

Q. You obviously like the timing of it, but are there other times you've thought about -- since you mentioned wearing it previously, like, what makes you decide what player's jersey you're going to wear?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, I've never thought about putting anything on. I mean, it's a fun hole, but it's very serious, it's business. But it's something that doesn't affect my swing and it's just I felt like very fitting and appropriate to do that.

Q. As you look forward to tomorrow, what are you looking to do or improve on?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Just go tighten things up a little on the range. Try to go see if we can figure out why I didn't feel as good over it or I wasn't as consistent today with some of my shots. But I played really nicely the last seven holes there. Even the last 10 holes or last 11 holes I played pretty well. I hit some good shots. I just couldn't get it quite close to the hole. And when I did, I couldn't quite get them to go in until like the last, I made a good putts there on 6 and 7. But I'm fine. Like I said at the beginning, it was a good score for how I felt and I'm close to shooting a pretty good one.

Q. That was my follow-up question: As you're describing your round, you're still within three shots of the lead at this point. That's not too bad.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, that's your goal on Thursday. Just try to post a good number and put yourself in a good position for the last three days.

Q. As you're coming into the Phoenix Open, is there any thought process that changes going into The Open dealing with these massive crowds and all that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: A little bit. It's just different. I think you have more adrenaline out here on a Thursday or Friday than you usually would at any other event, so I'm trying to channel that a little bit and just understand that the ball's going to go a little farther sometimes or you're a little juiced up. So just trying to control your emotions. It's something that you don't feel nervous or adrenaline very often on a Thursday or Friday, so having to control that and your emotions for four days is tough sometimes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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