January 8, 2022
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, USA
Plantation Course at Kapalua
Q. 12-under today. Just take me through the round and good bounce back for you.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I played well. Just it was all really solid and kind of in front of me, didn't do anything crazy, didn't, just took advantage of all the, I felt like, easy opportunities and chances that I had and hit a lot of really good drives, quality iron shots and wedges in there to, again, if there's such a thing as an easy 12-under, I definitely felt like it was.
Q. You've had a lot of success here. Do you feel like you finally found a groove for the week in a place that you really like?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, I would say the result-wise, yeah, but I mean I know what this place gives you and it's just, I just had one of those days Thursday where I couldn't get anything going.
I wasn't hitting it good, or I just had some squirrely shots here and there and it was just windy enough where I wasn't sharp enough to get it 8, 10 feet. It was a lot of 20-footers and I just wasn't making anything.
So I've won here before shooting an even par in a round and I knew that you have the opportunity to do something like I did today and, I mean, yesterday, there's not very often a 6-under round is just kind of like a whatever, but this week here it is.
Q. You mentioned that you hope the guys don't go too low today, but when you go out tomorrow do you feel the need to be aggressive or press at all or just go out and handle business?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Just same thing. I wasn't crazy aggressive today. When you have wedges in your hand with soft greens, you just, you attack. It doesn't matter if you're in last or first. You're just trying to make birdies and I felt like that's what I did.
I mean, I was so far back, it's not like I could really look at the leaderboard and try to play any differently. It was just try to birdie every hole we played.
Q. Was there a point yesterday when you finished your round that you felt okay with it and was there any point where your round yesterday felt less than what it was when you finished, just based on what everyone was doing?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, when I looked up and was in last, I felt like that was pretty humbling, I guess, if you will.
But no, I mean, the finish was big. Getting off to the start I did on Thursday, and yesterday just being 1-over through 4, I mean, obviously it is what it is. You can still go shoot 6- or 7-under, but it's hard to shoot 12-under or 10-under when you're 1-over through the first three, four holes.
So just getting off to a little better start today. But, yeah, I felt like yesterday closing that round out at least gave myself a chance to get a respectable week, respectable finish out of it, and if I did something berserk this weekend, I might have a chance to win.
Q. Do you remember the first time you ever set a course record?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yes. A Junior World practice round. I can't remember the name of the golf course. It was, I was like probably nine years old. It was like an executive course.
Q. In San Diego?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. I don't know. It was, but I just remember because Tiger had the course record, and I remember beating him and it was like the coolest thing obviously I had ever done at that time.
Something tells me it's not still standing. But I know I was, that was the first one I had ever broken and I was pretty pumped about that.
Q. In the recent years have you mentioned that to him at all?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I haven't because it's just, he's going to say something back like, and make me feel about this big, so --
Q. Do they mean something to you anymore?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Course records?
Q. On both TOUR stops in Hawaii now, I suppose.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. Yeah. I was trying to do it again today, but...
No, it, yeah, I mean, it's a huge, I mean, it's fun. Every golf course you go to, I mean, there's a scorecard in the locker room. I mean, it's pretty fun having a handful of buddies that live in Chicago that will go play Medinah every once in a while and they will send me pictures of my scorecard. It's stuff like that, whether the people know me or not or whether they know whoever shot the course record or not, it seems like that's kind of a part of the club at that time. So it definitely means something.
Q. Have you ever gone to an, I don't know how much recreational golf you play, gone to a course and found out what the course record was and make sure you didn't break it just so, just to let the poor stiff keep his mark?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, I'm too competitive for that. To be perfectly honest, I don't care about some stiff. I would much rather beat 'em.
Q. And lastly, we understand the conditions, which are about as perfect as it gets, and you guys are very good players, but is there a point or has there been a point recently where golf fans should just accept the fact that scores are coming down over the years?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think they, golf fans just need to understand what cause scores. I think everybody, they just see, oh, they're hitting it so far now, that's why it's so low.
It's like no, it's so low because it's so soft and if you give us soft conditions, fairways this big, course this short, we're going to shoot nothing. Then if you give us not very much wind, we're going to shoot even lower.
So you look at a place like Pebble Beach. Pebble Beach is 68- or 6900 yards and when it gets firm it's all you want.
But you give us a place, what, Erin Hills was a bazillion yards and it was soft and Brooks shot 16-under.
Q. You shot 63 that week.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I did.
Q. Course record?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Probably.
Q. There you go.
JUSTIN THOMAS: (Laughing) But, so that's the thing, it's just, it's all about how firm or soft it is and I think they need to accept it. I mean, it is what it is and respect good golf, but if they don't like it, then I guess so be it kind of thing.
Q. It's no less entertaining, I wouldn't think?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I wouldn't think so. I remember, I love watching the U.S. Open just for the carnage and seeing the tough conditions, but at the end of the day a lot of it, there's nothing you can do about the weather, but it's course setup. You're going to get certain parts of the country where you're able to get a little firmer, a little faster and those scores are going to be higher because of that kind of thing.
Q. Last thing on this topic, as a regular at Riviera, does it surprise you that the tournament scoring record, 72 holes, hasn't been beaten since 1985?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, no, I think Riviera could have a U.S. Open tomorrow.
Q. They got the women by the way.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I know. I've been lobbying for one for awhile, but it doesn't fit their agenda of being able to have their corporate tents and everything, so the U.S. Open's about them and not the players in a situation like that.
Q. Did you see the news about the women's purse going to 10 million dollars?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's unbelievable, it's awesome. I mean, there's so much, obviously, that goes into purses and, I mean, being involved in some more stuff with the PGA TOUR, you always just think, I should get more money, I should do this. But these are businesses, the LPGA is a business, the PGA TOUR's a business and they have to run appropriately. And it's awesome to see the USGA step up, because those women are playing at the top of the top level and in a major championship like a U.S. Women's Open it's a great step in the right direction for sure.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports