Justin Thomas. Jared C Tilton
After a rough couple days on the golf course — heck, after a rough year on the golf course — many tour pros would like to get as far away from the sport as possible. But not Justin Thomas.
The two-time major champ missed the cut at the final major of 2023 last week, but apparently spent his weekend watching wall-to-wall coverage of the Open Championship on TV just like the rest of us at home. And for good reason.
In his press conference ahead of the 3M Open, Thomas, who shot 82-71 to miss the cut at Royal Liverpool by 11 shots, explained that he’s not only an avid fan. He also uses these opportunities to watch and learn. Here’s the exhange:
Q. You mentioned watching the Open Championship and we’ve seen you tweet and follow some of the other majors that you didn’t make it to the weekend. Why do you like to do that? It seems like it would be hard for you not being there, but you still wanted to watch. Why did you want to do that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I’m a golf fan, I am. Obviously it sucks this year, I’ve literally watched basically the four, all four majors, the winners play their entire final round. So that’s not what you want to be, you want to be the one that’s being watched.
I am. There’s a lot of people that just, if they miss the cut or if they’re not playing, they don’t want to watch, but I’m a golf fan. I felt like I learnt from watching Brooks at the PGA. I felt like his demeanour and how he went about everything, for me personally, I was like that’s how I want to be, how I want to act when I’m out there playing in majors.
I mean, Harm [Open Champion Brian Harman] yesterday or two days ago, it was just how he just picked his way around that golf course, just seeing how focused he was, and him and Big Country, his caddie, were kind of in their own little world under that umbrella. You know, as a fan I like to watch, but also if I can learn a thing or two, that’s great.
A lot of good stuff in there. You can’t blame Thomas’ struggles on a lack of effort. The guy has tried everything to turn things around, including that crazy diet. And here’s how it sounded coming from JT’s mouth:
JT on watching major weekends from home and how he's taken inspiration from Brooks Koepka. 💬 pic.twitter.com/mlr8IgVoiw
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) July 26, 2023
Thomas won his 15th PGA Tour title and second major at last year’s PGA Championship, but hasn’t won since. He finished 41-over par in 10 major championship rounds this year and his three top 10s this season currently have him at No. 75 in the FedEx Cup standings — or outside the top 70 who qualify.
He’s also in a very precarious position when it comes to making this year’s Ryder Cup team. For all of those reasons, Thomas added this week’s 3M Open and next week’s Wyndham Championship to his schedule hoping for a late-season push.
“This is a good chance for me to learn a little bit about myself and push myself and become better,” Thomas said. “I mean, this game, nothing’s given to you. I’ve had great chances to win the FedEx Cup the last five or six years and now I’m trying to make the Playoffs. That’s just the way that this sport is. And it can happen to anybody, so you’ve just got to go out and get it and that’s what I’m going to do these last two weeks.”
Hopefully for Thomas — and for U.S. captain Zach Johnson — that learning will come on the course over these two weekends.