Justin Thomas pulled off an eight-shot comeback to win the 2022 PGA Championship in a playoff.
The win was Thomas’ 15th of his already historic career, and second major. The 29-year-old superstar moved to No. 5 in the world rankings.
Afterwards, the still sort of stunned University of Alabama alum took a few questions from the media and discussed a pep talk from his caddie Jim “Bones” Mckay; his respect for the 71-hole leader Mito Pereira; being more emotional after major No. 2; and the ribbing he expects from big brother Tiger Woods.
1. Bones’ Pep Talk
Q: Your dad mentioned that on the range last night Bones kind of gave you a tough-love conversation. Can you share a little bit more about that, and also, was it stuff like that why you really wanted him to come out of retirement and caddie for you?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I’m fully confident in saying that I wouldn’t be standing here if he didn’t give me that — wasn’t necessarily a speech, but a talk, if you will.
I just needed to let some steam out. I didn’t need to bring my frustration and anger home with me. I didn’t need to leave the golf course in a negative frame of mind. I just went down — I played pretty well yesterday for shooting 4-over, and I felt like I’d played terrible. And he was just like, dude, you’ve got to be stop being so hard on yourself. You’re in contention every single week we’re playing.
I’ve had a lot of chances to win tournaments, and it’s a hard golf course; it’s a major championship. You don’t have to be perfect. Just don’t be hard on yourself. Just kind of let stuff happen, and everything is trending in the right direction. So just keep staying positive so that good stuff can happen.
I left here in an awesome frame of mind. It was very — I think the last player here, it was like this out right now, it was so peaceful. It was almost kind of eerie how beautiful it was outside, and there’s not very many times after shooting 4-over on Saturday of a major I left in as good a frame of mind as I have.
2. Big Respect For Mito
Q: The Championship is well earned, of course, but do you feel for Mito at all with the wheels coming off like that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you don’t — you want to win a golf tournament. You don’t want someone to lose it.
And I think, I mean, I had many, not exactly like that, but I have had times in my career when I feel like I’ve let a tournament get away. And I mean, it’s brutal. It’s not fun.
But at the same time, if you’re able to channel that and look back at it later or whenever the time is when you’re kind of, I guess, calmed down and to reflect, he’ll be able to learn from it and be better from it.
I know that down the road, whether it’s this year or years to come, if he’s standing on 18 with a one-shot lead in a major, he’s going to feel more comfortable because he’s going to drawback on this experience.
He played unbelievable golf this week. There’s no reason to hang his head. Yeah, I never saw him this week. I don’t really know him that well. I never got to talk to him or anything. But he played great.
There’s however many people were in this field, everybody else would have traded places with him on that 18th tee for sure to have a chance to win.
3. Sweet Emotions
Q: You seemed to have showed more emotion after this win than I can remember seeing. What’s the reason for that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just think it’s just so hard to win. Like, it is. I legitimately think it’s harder to win now than it was when I first came out on Tour just for the sake of the depth of the Tour.
I clearly haven’t won the amount of times that a lot of guys — not a lot; a handful of guys have this year. But I feel like I’ve played just as well as anybody on Tour this year. I just haven’t had the trophies to show, and I’d fallen in the World Ranking, and that just kind of shows how strong it was or how strong the game of golf is.
I think it’s easy to start letting some doubt creep in and just kind of like, all right, what’s going to happen, when is it going to happen, is it going to happen.
I mean, the first one with Bones officially on my bag; first one as an engaged man. There’s a lot of things that factored into it, but just — I told Julius earlier, I don’t remember the specifics from 2017 as much as I would have liked, other than I just remember them chanting “J.T.,” but I didn’t remember the specifics.
I just was walking up 18 in the playoff, and I knew it wasn’t over, but I looked up and I wanted to take it in because you don’t know when and if it’s going to happen again, and it’s such an unbelievable, cool feeling that you just want to enjoy it.
4. Talking With Tiger
Q: Do you feel he’s celebrating right now, and have you talked to him?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don’t know, I’m sure he probably will give me a hard time for shanking it. I should have made the putt on 18. Shouldn’t have been in a playoff.
I don’t know, he’ll always find something to give me grief about.
Credits: Getty Images, PGA Tour Media, Fastscripts