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After ‘terrible’ training, Justin Thomas finds solution with dad, opens PGA 2022 with 67

After ‘terrible’ training, Justin Thomas finds solution with dad, opens PGA 2022 with 67

TULSA, Okla. – About 24 hours before shooting the low round of the afternoon wave at Southern Hills, Justin Thomas was fuming on the driving range, growing increasingly frustrated with his dad/swing coach Mike, and wondering why he wouldn’t suddenly couldn’t find the clubface.

“I hit him terribly,” he said. “I wasn’t getting the shots I wanted. Just feeling bad with the ball is obviously not a very good feeling.

Especially on the eve of a major championship. Especially on a test like Southern Hills, where precision is paramount – not just off the tee, to avoid the unpredictable roughness of Bermuda, but also on the greens, with the severe drops, small quadrants and steep runoffs.

Eventually, Mike Thomas stepped in and suggested his son put down some alignment sticks and just try to hit shots. Different shapes. Varied trajectories.

“Immediately I just started rinsing it and banging it the way I wanted,” Thomas said.


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Although he didn’t shoot hard on Thursday, Thomas did one of four birdies on the tricky 18th hole and posted for a 3-under 67 for the PGA Championship. That tied the leading score of the late finishers (who battled warmer temperatures and stronger wind) and put him two shots ahead of Rory McIlroy.

“It was a great end to a solid fight there,” he said.

A strong start was exactly what Thomas was looking for as he tried to capture his second major, and first since the 2017 PGA. Few have been better on the PGA Tour in recent years than Thomas, who has 14 wins, but he’s the first to admit he’s been a pedestrian at golf’s biggest events. That includes earlier this year at the Masters, where he was blurry and unruly in an opening 76 that left him too far to recover. He rallied to a tie for eighth place, just his fourth top 10 finish since his major breakthrough.

BY Ryan Lavner

Tiger Woods grimaced and limped to a 4 of 74 in the first round of the PGA Championship.

Struggling with allergies, Thomas felt terrible on Tuesday and had the shaky practice the day before the opening round. But he and his father managed to find a solution – together.

Now 29, Thomas admitted it was always difficult to navigate with his father as his swing coach, especially on the rare occasions when he wasn’t swinging well.

“I get mad at him sometimes,” Thomas said, “and I think as a dad he’s not going to be Butch Harmon or Pete Cowen and tell me I suck, or that’s not very good. , and sometimes I wish he would say that, just because I want to hear it.

“I have to remind him sometimes: you’re not my dad here, you’re my swing coach, and I need you to tell me if something’s wrong. I don’t need my ego boosted; I’m here to try and win a golf tournament and play well, so do your job, sort of.

“It’s improved a lot over the last two years, but it’s like any player-coach relationship. You need this responsibility.


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