'When it's your week, it's your week'

History

Justin Thomas talks us through his back-nine heroics at last year's PGA Championship as he opened his major account at Quail Hollow

Justin Thomas has been picking up trophies since he was a little boy and last year he landed the biggest, in the literal sense, of the lot. Having attended the PGA Championship at Valhalla as a seven-year-old he got to lift the Wanamaker Trophy himself after bursting out of the pack at Quail Hollow.

At one stage on Sunday he was four behind Hideki Matsuyama, then he was part of a five-way tie for the lead before some back-nine brilliance put him two shots ahead of Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen.

Jordan Spieth’s sidekick had properly come of age albeit that it only took him until he was 24. Here, in his own words, he talks us through the three pivotal birdies on his back nine in North Carolina.

10th. “Never in doubt”

“I called Jimmy (caddie Jimmy Johnson) in to read this one. It was a weird putt because I saw it, how it kind of went left there. The grain was going this way. That’s kind of why I was pointing. When you zoom in, you can see the grain going that way, and that’s why I couldn’t believe that the gravity and the grain did not take it. You can see it was going that way, and I just was blown away.

“I hit a terrible chip. I had such a good position and I hit an awful chip, but I left it in the good spot, and I wasn’t even looking. I was turned around acting like a little child over there, and there we go. It was nice.

“I really, truly did feel like it was going to go in. When I went up there, I was just like, there’s no way it doesn’t. It wasn’t severe, but it was enough of a slope to where with that grain, it still had a chance. But with grain, I was like, it just has to. It’s gravity, it has to go in. I was like, I get 10 seconds. I was going to throw a fit over here. I’m going to use all the time I can. I just needed about four or five. But when it’s your week, it’s your week.”

13th. ‘The most berserk I’ve ever gone on a golf course’

“I knew that there was a lot of us around the lead. That first cut is so tough to chip. It’s tough to chip out of the rough but that first cut you can really look stupid in a heartbeat because it’s all into the grain and it’s really short to where you can just flub it. You can hit it right in front of you and if you try it play for that, it can come out hot and you can run it by.

“To have that chip kind of come out perfectly and exactly like I saw, and that was a roar like I’ve never experienced. It’s the most berserk I’ve gone on a golf course.

“You often see or have often seen those moments on TV, Tiger making those putts or guys holing shots, and the crowd is so loud that you can yell whatever you want and you can say something as loud as you can and nobody can hear you, and it was my first ever time I was able to do that, and I’m just yelling, it was pretty cool to get that pumped up.”

17th. ‘How do you like that two right there?’

“I would call it the best shot of my career. I had about 197 or so front, and the pin was like 217 with the adjustment downhill. It would have been a perfect 6-iron any other day of the week, but you can see a little bit downwind, and the adrenaline is pumping, and I’m just seeing that thing at the right edge of the green, and I was like, I’m just going to hammer this thing.

“We were just trying to make three and we felt like a 7-iron was going to give us the best chance for me to hit it on the green. I could make an aggressive swing, I didn’t need to be tentative with anything. It rolled up to the middle of the green, and it rolled over  just to a good enough spot to kind of creep that putt there in the left edge. I told Jimmy, with another word in there, how do you like that two right there?

“But it was just a hole and a shot that I’ll never forget. We got there this year for the Wells Fargo and we got on that tee, and I was like we played that up tee. And he was like, we played this tee. I was like, I hit 7-iron? How did you let me hit that? When you’re in those moments, though, any athlete would tell you, adrenaline is a pretty unbelievable thing.”

 

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