February 5, 2021
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Q. Nine birdies after the double at 10. What a comeback. You kept everything together, didn't you.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I did. It was pretty hard to get over that finish yesterday because I felt like I didn't play great. I didn't play bad. I really got it around well to have a chance to shoot 5- or 6-under par, and then to give it all up in one hole was upsetting is an understatement I would say. I felt like I tried to get over that.
It was cold this morning. I had a hard time kind of figuring out what it was going to do out there, but you can't really think of a worse start, to hit a perfect drive and have just a comfortable gap wedge into the first hole or a pitching wedge and make a 6, make a double. I just tried to stay patient. I know you can make so many birdies out here and I know it's a place that I really do love.
I rolled it well yesterday. I just didn't really get it close enough to the hole. I made a couple of those putts today and hit a couple better shots, so I'm just really pleased how I hung in there to give myself a chance this week.
Q. You're right there in contention with 36 holes to go; that's pretty good.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I've played the par-5s horrendous, even par. They really are great par-5s out here. I think that they have a lot of great risk-reward and you can make bogeys pretty quickly. I've had it in really good spots except for the tee shot on 15 yesterday, which wasn't even a bad tee shot. I usually should be 4- or 5-under on those and I'm even and then having a triple and a double on not very difficult holes. You can look at it one of two ways, that I should be doing better, but I look at it as I'm very, very close to playing some really, really good golf.
Q. You lead the TOUR in birdies, 5.3 birdies a round, which is amazing on the courses that you guys play. You had nine today. What's the mentality? Do you go out, I can birdie every hole?
JUSTIN THOMAS: On courses like this you definitely can. I think you get certain situations and certain pins or whatever it might be where you're not really trying to make birdie -- my birdie on 8 today was a steal. After the tee shot, I'm just trying to get somewhere on or in front of the green and for that ball to happen to fall in is a bonus.
The course is a lot softer this year than it normally is, and you don't have that big bounce-out on the greens. Over the course of the weekend I'm sure it'll get that way. But it just is such a fun course to play because you really can just shoot so low. You can really get going and make just a bunch of birdies. If you're not playing well, it's going to expose you. That's why this place is so fun to play.
Q. Do you have a Super Bowl connection with the Bucs or the Chiefs or are you rooting for anybody?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I've gotten to know Tom Brady pretty well, and I'm a huge fan of his. I'm a huge fan of Mahomes. I haven't gotten to meet him. It's two people it's hard to bet against and hard to root against. They're two great players and great ambassadors for the game, but I'm always going to be rooting for TV and hoping to get to know the Super Bowl.
I've never been more clueless what's going to happen in a game. Maybe that means it'll be a good one.
Q. Less than desirable start today but you certainly turned it around. Just a few comments on the round.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I was glad to hang in there. I felt like I was in a good spot to get off to a good start, especially on the back nine which I would say is easier and really get it going, and I couldn't have done more opposite. Hit a perfect tee shot down 10 and had a pitching wedge in and made about as easy and bad of a 6 as you possibly could. It's unfortunate to put myself behind the 8-ball. I honestly was down on myself pretty good because it just was like, I shouldn't be fighting or grinding to make this cut at a place that I love like this, especially after going through 11, 12, good looks and then not birdieing 13 after another perfect tee shot.
But I stayed patient and understood that you can make a boatload of birdies out here and I was fortunate to do that my last 14 holes or so.
Q. How nice is it to come back to a place like this where you're coming off third-place finishes the past couple years. Do you come with a little bit more confidence or momentum to a place like that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just like the golf course. I come in knowing that I don't need my best stuff to win, which I think is huge. But I also know that I can do what I did the last 15 holes today, or whatever it is, 14, 15 holes. I really feel like I can reel off nine birdies in an 11- or 12-hole stretch, but I also understand and respect the golf course and kind of take what it gives me. If I get out of position or if it's an uncomfortable pin or yardage. I also know if you get a day like today where it's perfect, soft conditions, when you're in position you've got to attack because everybody else is.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports