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August 8, 2020

Justin Thomas

San Francisco, California, USA

Harding Park Golf Club

Flash Quotes

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon. Welcome back to the 2020 PGA Championship here at TPC Harding Park. We thank Justin Thomas for stopping by today. Thank you, sir.

You recorded a third round 68 today, and stand at 1-under par for the championship. Blistering start. Maybe you couldn't sustain it as long as you wanted to, but what did you see out there and how did you feel?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I knew being where I was that I needed to post a good round today to have a chance. I felt like if I could get 10-under this weekend, I'd have a pretty good chance. Got off to the start I wanted. I just hit actually a pretty good shot on 8. Just barely leaked it and kind of landed on the downslope and went to the green on a funky lie. The bogeys on and 8 and 9 hurt, but you're going to make bogeys out here. It's a tough golf course.

Yeah, I mean, I'm pissed off, that's really the best way to describe it. I let a really good round go, and really had a great opportunity to put myself in a good position going into tomorrow. I just didn't capitalize on the back nine.

Q. I know you walked off disappointed. Standing on 8 tee, did you get a chance it could be something really special unfolding?

JUSTIN THOMAS: You can't get ahead of yourself on a course like this because especially the meat of the course starts on 8, 9, and very difficult, 11, 12, 13, 14, it's just even holes like 15, it's not a hard hole, per se, but if you miss the fairway, it can be difficult. Or as windy as it is, it's just -- you can't really take any breathers out here. You have to really pay attention to every shot, every putt, every decision, and you know, like I said, I felt like I hit a pretty good shot on 8. It was right of where I wanted to. I still could have easily made a par I felt like.

Yeah, it's just, you know, that's what happens on this golf course unfortunately, or what can happen.

Q. How is 16 playing today and what did you do there? How did it setup?

JUSTIN THOMAS: If there's no wind, it's a lay-up all day. You have a little backstop there. It's just my thought process is -- I'm hitting my wedges just horrendously right now. It's a strength of my game, and I for some reason can't seem to hit a wedge inside of five feet or ten feet, and it's really frustrating.

So to me, that's a hard wedge shot even if you are wedging it well. Blowing 20 in off the left, to a pin that's tucked way front left. So I felt like my best chance of making birdie was to hit a kind of little slider driver and get it over to the right of the green or in the right rough and you're chipping over the green like Jordan did. I toed it so bad that it just kind of hit a little divy hook, and from there, I didn't have much.

But I could have made 4 still. It just was where I hit it in that bunker, just like a good amount of them out here, just didn't have any sand. I mean, I was pretty screwed if that was -- had a lot of sand in, it let alone no sand. I just didn't really put myself in a good position to save.

Q. Some bogeys, as you said, are going to happen. Was that maybe the most debilitating?

JUSTIN THOMAS: For sure. I felt like going into that hole 4-under for the round, I was trying to get two of those last three. Felt like I would have been in great position going into tomorrow, and did the exact opposite. So, that sucked.

Q. You played with Jordan today, and you know him as well as anybody does. Can you sense his frustration knowing how badly he wants to win this tournament for the career Grand Slam?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, I think he wants to win any tournament. I don't -- not saying this in a disrespectful way, but you guys probably think he wants to win it more than he does, you know what I mean. He wants to win any tournament like all of us do, and especially you want to win any major, and this one, just always going to be put on a little bit more of a pedestal than the other ones for him.

I know he's going to be fine. I'm not just saying it because he's one of my best friends. I mean, just I've seen him get it around when he's not playing well. I've seen him play well when he is playing well. All of us go through little spurts. It's just for him, this has just been a tough one. I mean, he's going to be fine.

All it takes sometimes is one week and all your confidence gets back. I think Brooks kind of spoke on that a little bit, whether it was last week, or maybe before that, but just he found something last week obviously and he's playing well again this week.

So, that's golf.

Q. Does it show you something, the way he played 18?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, didn't give up. He didn't quit at all today. He didn't play well. Whenever he felt like he hit a good drive, he misgauged the wind or just didn't hit a good shot. And you know, he said walking off 18, he's like, "I'm sorry, man. I just didn't really give you any momentum," and that's a good friend trying to take the blame.

I remember I said that to him walking off 18 at Augusta in 2018 when he was, what, 9-under coming up 18. I 4-putted 16, I bogeyed 17, and I just really was trying to stay out of the way because I wanted him to birdie 18 and have a chance to shoot 10-under. I felt terrible, I kind of scraped it up the hole and he missed an 8-footer and I told him, I'm sorry, man, I kind of screwed that up for you. But I guess that's just us trying to take the blame off the other one.

Q. As a competitor, you're focused on yourself but when it is a good friend and you know he's struggling, is it hard to watch at all, just emotionally?

JUSTIN THOMAS: No, it's not hard to watch. We're all dealing with ourselves. I mean, the only difference is just we're not talking as much. It's not like we're out there yucking it up as much as we normally would. He's trying to figure stuff out and I'm just trying to make birdies, type thing.

Q. Quick update on Jimmy. When do you expect to get him back?

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, we're just kind of taking it as slow as we can. I think for the time being, it's more important for him to make sure he's good. You know, it's kind of like I use my -- it's totally different, but use my wrist as an example. It's like, hey, we had the opportunity to come back, maybe one, maybe two tournaments earlier, but is it worth jeopardizing another five in the future?

So that's kind of our thought process, and it sounds like his tests have been going well, which is good. You know, maybe switch up some medicine here or there. I know he's working to get back, and in terms of when, I'm not sure yet. I mean, we'll have next week to think about that and talk about it. But trying not to think about it, because I have, and your mind starts wandering or thinking about what to do instead of worrying about playing golf.

Q. One more unrelated follow. There's talk about the Asia Swing, and it's looking more and more like you'll be defending your title in Las Vegas. How do you feel about that?

JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm bummed we're not -- well, if we're not going to Asia, I'm bummed because I've made quite a career there. But obviously this is just not the time for that. Wherever it is, I'm going to be excited to go, and it is what it is. I think this year has proven that we're far from the norm, so I wouldn't expect anything different.

Q. Good non-answer on Vegas.

JUSTIN THOMAS: (Chuckling).

Q. Was there a shot today that was particularly deflating because of the way it ended up?

JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, the tee shot on 16 was really bad. That was deflating just because that felt like it took a birdie opportunity away. But I don't know, I mean, I could name a bunch, a bunch of shots that didn't pan out like I wanted.

8, that was a bummer. It's a really, really difficult hole and I'm just trying to put it on the middle of the green, and you can get some very squirrely lies in that first cut, and unfortunately it just rolled through the green to where I had one of those and wasn't able to get up-and-down and save one of those, too.

Q. It seemed like it was windier today than yesterday. Was that the case, and any example of how the wind affected a shot of yours? And following up on that, how much of a factor do you think it will be for the leaders later this afternoon?

JUSTIN THOMAS: To be honest I didn't think it was any windier. It's been very windy the last two days. It's pretty consistent here where it's fairly calm in the morning and starts blowing as the day goes on and will probably calm down as the leaders are finishing the round but every day is different, so that's not a guarantee.

But no, to be perfectly honest, I thought it was just as windy, if not a little bit less than what it has been the last couple days. It's just it was a little -- it didn't quite get fully sunny. It got close, and then stayed a little bit cooler where that wind really has a big effect on those crosswinds on some of those holes on the back nine.

Q. How mystifying is the wedge play this week, and that something you flip around pretty quickly?

JUSTIN THOMAS: It was pretty bad last week, too, I thought. It's just weird and it's frustrating because it is a huge strength of my game and something that I rely on and lean on. I mean, the last two weeks has just been atrocious. I've worked on it. I've been hitting my numbers well on the range when we have worked on it. It's just, tweak it, a little different than last week because it was fairly calm last week.

But you know, we have a lot of crosswinds and a lot of wind in general and a lot of uneven lies to where you have a lot of factors in there. But you know, as the No. 1 player in the world, I would hope that I would be able to adjust to that, and I clearly haven't and need to just work on it and hopefully find it tomorrow, but if not next week, going into the Playoffs.

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