March 12, 2022
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA
Q. I think it took you 43 hours and parts of three days to get through that first round. Just wondering what that experience was like and how good was your 69 in the second round?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was very weird, obviously hard to get into a rhythm. Had a lot of different emotions; first off thinking it looks like we were on the right side of the draw and being pretty excited about that, and then realizing that was very much not the fact and then just having to get over that as quick as I could because it's obviously frustrating, especially when I feel like I'm playing well, kind of getting just thrown into something like that.
To be perfectly honest, I blame Tiger because I played in the afternoon so I could go to his Hall of Fame ceremony. If I would have just maybe stuck to my guns and played early, I would have been better.
I'm just joking.
I'm thrilled with how I played and how I competed today. It was a very, very tough day, and I just stayed very patient and executed well.
Q. You were varying trajectories with your irons. Do you relish the opportunity to do that on days like today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's one of those days I think could be really fun to play if you're home. It's not really fun when it's TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS, and you're kind of around the cut line to start the day. It's so hard.
I really just -- as soft as it is in normal conditions, you know like the first round, you're just trying to knock it close. You're trying to make a lot of birdies.
But I just tried to hit as many greens as I possibly could today because I knew it's really hard to chip it close. It's really hard to make even two-, three-, four-footers with that wind. I just, especially all the par-3s, I'm like, just put this ball on the green, just get it on the ground. It's soft enough that it's not going to run away from you, and just two-putt and move on, and I was able to sprinkle in a couple of birdies.
Q. You said before the tournament you had heard the stories from Tiger about playing 17. What was it like to have to play it twice within almost three hours?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, maybe I shouldn't have spoken about it earlier in the week. They were both giving me a hard time last night about how hard it was going to be today. I really enjoyed that from them while they weren't playing it and I had to, with how hard it was going to be.
It's one of those things, it's like, if you were coming out and playing you'd be like, oh, I hit 6- or 7-iron on 17, but when you have a 7-iron on that hole and it's into off the left, it's a lot more fun when someone tells you a story of them doing it versus you have to it.
Q. When you hit 14 greens, what kind of rhythm were you in? You seemed in control all day.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I definitely was. It was slow. It was hard. It's not really a swing rhythm because you're just not really making that many swings. It's just a lot of shots. A lot of choking up, very, very narrow, open stance, slicing it against the wind, drawing it against the wind. Pitching wedges from -- I hit two pitching wedges 185 yards today, and I hit a 5-wood 193 yards. It was some of the most bizarre conditions I've played in.
Q. What did you do during all the downtime while you were waiting to try and get that first round completed? You posted a picture of yourself and your dog.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Not much. We have some good friends that live like 15 minutes away, so we're staying in their house. The Spieths are there with us, so we've just been hanging out. I will say that a dog and a baby keeps the downtime, occupies it a lot easier for the both of us.
Q. What was the most satisfying shot you hit today or shot you were most proud of?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The drive on 18 I loved. The 5-iron I hit on 3 was probably the most flush shot I hit today. That was exactly where I was looking, exactly the yardage I was trying to hit it, a 5-iron from 167. The yardage one, I'm taking a little off an 8 or step off a 9 normally, and just to try to finesse a 5-iron in there with that amount of wind, that was probably the purest shot I hit today.
Q. Why do you think you and Bubba had the lowest rounds this afternoon?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know, our creativity has to help in the amount of shots we can hit. But at the end of the day, anybody that's playing this week could have gone out and done it. I mean, Bubba's a good player. I'd like to think I'm a good player. We just had a good day.
Q. What are you going to text Tiger and Freddie?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know, but I can't wait to talk to them. I'm sure they'll have some stuff to say.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports