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February 2, 2020

Justin Thomas

Scottsdale, Arizona

Q. Birdie four of your last six maybe the highlight birdieing 16 with the Kobe jersey on. What was this week like for you with what happened a week ago?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I mean it's always a fun week here in Phoenix, somehow it gets crazier every year with the fans and the amount of people here. But, no, I mean, it was, I guess, a somber week, if you will, it just is, a lot of us playing with heavy hearts. A lot of my good friends from the West Coast area are big laker fans, big Kobe fan and I just kind of became a Kobe fan, just for being a fan of his and loved the way he went about everything. I have a couple Kobe jerseys so it was a no-brainer for me to bring them and wear them on 16.

Q. Good week, good finish for you today. What was going right for you today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I hit it a little bit better today. I really, to be perfectly honest I don't feel like I played very well this week. I got it around really well and I managed my game tremendously and sometimes weeks like this can give me more confidence than winning, as crazy as it is. I mean obviously I would have rather won, but to not have my best stuff, really drive it very, very average, iron game not very sharp, and not really have a hot putter once this week and still to hopefully be able to squeak a Top-5 is pretty good.

Q. I know you're a big sports fan. Who do you like tonight?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know. I love watching Mahomes play so I'll probably be pulling for the Chiefs. Good buddies with Gary Woodland so I couldn't do that to him, so I guess I'm going to go with the Chiefs.

Q. Do you think you're feted to win this thing one of these years?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I feel like it's definitely a good course for me. I feel like if I would have played well this week I would have had a really good chance to win. I just kept getting it around, I never once got hot, I never either could make some longer putts or could hit it close enough multiple times in a row to get anything going. So I was very, I'm very, very pleased with how this week turned out for how I felt like I played.

Q. Something click today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, I mean I didn't do anything special today. I hit a wedge in there close on 2 and I made a good putt on 5 and I hit a wedge in there probably 12 feet on 6. And then all my birdies on the back nine were pretty easy, they were short range. I just felt like I did everything I should have done, I mean this course you can birdie, I mean 10 to 12 holes out here, 15 holes, it's, you just, it's hard to get it going when the greens are get a little bit firmer like this and they tuck some of the pins but I just felt I could never really get anything going to go low.

Q. Was there any point on the back nine where your focus shifted from trying to put a good number up to potentially trying scare the leaders?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Absolutely, I thought when we were on -- I thought when I was walking up 14 I saw the leaders at 15, which I was just couldn't believe and I was at 11. And I was like, man if I somehow can make about -- I had a 35- or 40-footer -- I was like if I can make this and eagle either 15 or 17 and birdie 16 and 18 and we can post 16- or 17- they got to at least look at it. That's all I wanted. And I was -- I bombed with that tee shot on 17, that just was bad, I would at least like to have a look at eagle there. But overall I can't be too disappointed with the last six holes.

Q. Is the zone a thing in golf? I cover a lot of sports, basketball, a guy gets hot they stay hot. Does that happen here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It didn't happen today but it definitely happens in golf. I think any of us will tell you that when you get rolling -- I mean a round like today, I don't want to say far from, but it definitely wasn't. When you get in that 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-, 11-under range and you're just borderline unconscious it's a pretty cool feeling. It's hard to explain.

Q. Curious what you thought of the crowds this week as compared to previous years and not just 16 but the whole experience.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it gets crazier every year. You expect that, you know you're getting it, so it's not like it's a surprise, at least it isn't to me. And, I mean everybody has their bad stories and their good stories. Fortunately I thought this week it was fine, you're always going to have a lot of noise and a lot of drunk people yelling stuff, but I guess that's the Phoenix Open, that's what it is from time to time, but, no, I mean, it was great, 16 was awesome as always and very, very enjoyable experience.

Q. And how does it compare to other tournaments, like just the size of the crowd?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's not even close. You can't relate this to any other tournament that we play because it's different. I think I would say 70 percent of the people here maybe don't come even for the golf they just come for the fun and hospitality and the tents. And there's a lot of people out here for golf but when you have however many hundred thousand people that's a lot of people.

Q. Did you and Tony talk about Kobe at all, you both wore jerseys.

Q. He's your Presidents Cup teammate and all that, he's vying for the win here. What are your thoughts on your game now, are you a little surprised that he hasn't picked up a W since 2016?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, we were talking about that today because he obviously handles the pressure really well. I mean, look how he's played in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup and that's, I mean, personally, I think the biggest pressure you can get. I mean, I felt stuff at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup that I've never felt in a tournament before. So he's handled that tremendously. So I mean it's, the thing is you can't, I mean, no offense, but you got, you're going to be hard on him because he has been there and hasn't won, but it's hard to win, there's only one every week and you never know when he might go on a little spree and win three or four of six or seven events. Or he might not. That's the thing that, I hate to say it, but the thing that sucks about this game and the thing that's great about it is you just have to stay in the right frame of mind to let it happen if it comes.

Q. How much fun is it for big hitters like you to play this course as the second longest driving average on TOUR?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's fun, it's I feel like I have a little bit of an advantage, I would say mostly into the greens. But when you hit 50 percent of your fairways like I did this week it's not too much of an advantage.

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