PGA CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
June 4, 2018
JULIUS MASON: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us today as we celebrate the 100th PGA Championship and our defending champion, Justin Thomas. I'm Julius Mason from the PGA of America. As we navigate this day, please sit back, relax and enjoy the history and tradition that is the PGA Championship right now.
Nearly 100 years of history in just about two and a half minutes. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lot to get to today, so please welcome right now the president of the PGA of America, Mr. Paul Levy.
Paul, I heard you speaking at dinner last night and on Golf Channel this morning when you were doing some interviews about how excited you are about this championship being played in St. Louis, and specifically at Bellerive Country Club.
PAUL LEVY: Well, you know, it's a great sports town. You think about St. Louis and Final Fours, World Series, and it's also a great golf town. There are so many great golf courses. It's got a championship history. The community supports the championships here. That's what's really exciting.
And then last but not least, it's Mike DeCola and the people here at Bellerive Country Club, the support they gave us, and they wanted to be hosting major championships. I believe that's part of your charter. And so that's why we're here; it should be an exciting championship for the 100th PGA Championship.
JULIUS MASON: Based on the turnout today, if you want to give Bellerive a few more major championships, that's fine with me. How about as a brief refresher for many in this room, can you tell them who the PGA of America is and maybe our place in the golf space?
PAUL LEVY: I'd love to. The PGA of America is the thousands of men and women across the country who play the game at a high level and teach the game, run golf facilities, and the mission of the PGA of America is promote the golf and enhance opportunities for our professionals, and that's what they do every day. I look at Mike Tucker, Bellerive's own golf professional, been here for a quarter century, loves the game of golf, but he's the person that people go to to try to help get fun with their golf lessons, run tournaments at a club, and at the end of the day we take the responsibility for growing this great game of golf.
JULIUS MASON: We have 41 PGA sections around the country. One of those sections is not too far from here, the Gateway PGA section is actually 15 minutes away in Chesterfield.
PAUL LEVY: Yes, the Gateway section of the PGA, one of our really special sections, 330 members who do exactly what we just talked about. We're joined here by Benjamin Kent, the president of the Gateway section, and when it's all said and done, they support the programs that we use to grow this game all over the country. The history here for growing the game, junior golf, is really exceptional.
JULIUS MASON: Finally, Paul, I think the majority of the media with us today understand that the PGA Championship features the strongest field in golf, but they might not know the whole story about the field that we have.
PAUL LEVY: Well, if you look at last year's championship, we had 97 of the top 100 in the World Ranking. We consistently have one of the strongest fields in golf, and it also is special because 20 of our club professionals qualify for this championship through our professional national championship, which will be in two weeks in Seaside California. 312 players will tee it up for those 20 spots, and one of those players teeing it up is Brian Fogt right here, the director of instruction at Bellerive. I think it would be pretty cool if Brian qualified and got to play the PGA Championship at his home club. You would give him the time off, right, Mike?
MIKE TUCKER: We'll see. (Laughter.)
JULIUS MASON: Paul, thank very much. Next, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bellerive Country Club member and the general chair for the PGA Championship, Mike DeCola. Mike, in 2011 we announced that the PGA Championship will be played at Bellerive Country Club. Here we are seven years later. Are you, the membership, St. Louis ready to welcome the world to your doorstep?
MIKE DeCOLA: Well, we're really eager to return major championship golf to Bellerive and to have the opportunity to show off not only our golf course but the community of St. Louis, which, as you said, Paul, has a tremendous history, especially when it comes to sports and the game of golf. It's obviously a terrific honor for us to be hosting a PGA Championship, but the fact that it's such a milestone in your history makes it all the more humbling for us.
If I can, I want to just take a second and introduce Ed Glotzbach, who's the president of Bellerive. The board has been incredibly supportive, as have our members, many of which are in this room or back out in the bigger room, and thank them for all their support.
We also have some visitors here from the St. Louis Metropolitan Urban League, including their CEO Mike McMillan, who's next to Ed. Mike and his team are working with us in trying to make sure that we include a wider segment in our community in all of our championship activities, so thank you, Mike.
JULIUS MASON: It's really hard not to notice as we're walking through the hallways here the World Golf Hall of Famers that adorn the building inside. Can you talk a little bit about the history and tradition that that makes at Bellerive Country Club?
MIKE DeCOLA: Well, clearly we think the golf course out there has a lot to do with that history and a lot to do with the careers they've launched. Obviously the 1965 U.S. Open champion Gary Player cemented his legacy here by winning the final leg of the career Grand Slam. In 1992, your champion, Nick Price, registered his first of three major championships by winning the '92 PGA. And we're hopeful that this year, we'll have that kind of impact on the champion of the 100th playing of the championship.
JULIUS MASON: I just want to play a little game here. Show of hands for those that were here for the 1992 PGA Championship. Hands down, very good. Those that were here for the 1965? Only three? Those three with their hands up, we're going to buy you something really fun. Thank you very much.
Next, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the executive vice president of programming for CBS Sports, Dan Weinberg. Dan, start off and tell us overall CBS' plans for programming.
DAN WEINBERG: Well, first we should just talk about our partnership and just how valuable we view the partnership. We've been together with the PGA of America covering this event for several decades now. In fact, it'll be the 35th time that the PGA Championship is done on CBS Sports, and 20 consecutive years back to Crooked Stick in 1991. So we've got a long and really valuable history together, and in our business, to have partnerships of this length and a relationship this strong for so long is really noteworthy.
With that being said, we're ready for blanket coverage. We're really excited. We're going to cover the event throughout our various distribution platforms, starting of course, with the CBS broadcast, Saturday, Sunday, third and final round coverage, 2:00 p.m. eastern time until conclusion of play, of course, and we'll do our highlight shows later that night. All our coverage will be streamed live through cbssports.com and will be available now on CBS All Access, which is our direct-to-consumer app, and even to our new sports app we'll be doing -- CBS Sports HQ app will be doing all sorts of live updates throughout the tournament.
So on the broadcast side and digitally, that's what we're doing. On our cable network, CBS Sports Network, as you know, we've got a really robust plan, which we're really excited about. We'll have range coverage on Thursday and Friday for a couple hours at noon, which is a great window into seeing how these elite players prepare for an event like this. We'll do our PGA Championship clubhouse report at the end of play all four nights, Thursday and Friday at 9:00, and Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday coverage at 8:00, and one of the things we like to have fun with on our cable network is the week leading to the event, we'll do a stunt program where we'll look and focus on the CBS archive shows that we partnered with you on and take a look back at some more memorable events in this major championship, all the way back some 40 years, so you'll see Jack, you'll see Tiger, you'll see Phil, you'll see Rory, and we'll do that for the entire week leading up to the event. So it's a great plan. It's a comprehensive plan, reflective of how much we value the partnership and how excited we are for the 100th playing of the event.
JULIUS MASON: CBS Sports' first ever championship in 1958. That's really quite amazing.
DAN WEINBERG: Was anybody in the room for that? (Laughter.)
JULIUS MASON: Talk about the storytelling component for the 100th PGA Championship.
DAN WEINBERG: Right. So in sports media we love big, round numbers. We love anniversaries, so it doesn't get bigger than a 100th. The 100 years of this event in some ways, it's sort of a telling on the history of our sport, so we're going to embrace that, obviously. It's a major focus of our promotion, of our marketing and of our coverage, as well, and there's a couple of key elements that will be part of it. Number one is a custom graphics package that's reflective of the 100th anniversary. We'll debut that as part of our coverage, and there will be a thread visually throughout our coverage, which is very exciting for us.
Secondly, editorially, our production team and our talent are going to be referencing and weaving in vignettes of some of the more memorable moments over the history of the event going back over the first half of the 20th century where the legends of our game, of this game, really established themselves and established this event. So we'll view that.
And then the last piece is some original programming on CBS. We do this every year as part of our relationship with the PGA of America, so there will be three shows. First show is the Road to the PGA Championship. That's July 29th, 2:00 o'clock eastern time. And then a week later, August 5th, we'll have our annual preview show. So those are two shows we do every year, but the third show is a custom show and something we're excited about.
We've worked with Julius and the entire team at PGA of America to put it together; it's something we're calling the PGA Championship: The Ultimate Bracket. So basically you can take a look at the visual there. We've gone and identified 16 of the great moments in the history of this event, which really is a walk down memory lane of the history of the game, as we've said, and it's fan focused. The fans are going to get to vote for their favorite one, and that show, Teeing Up the Vote, happens on CBS Sports on July 8th at 2:00 eastern time, and immediately following the show voting opens. It's #PGA100. So the voting will go up to the Wednesday of the week of the championship, and we'll have some fun with that and make it really an ongoing promotional part of our coverage.
JULIUS MASON: Dan, thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome now the chief operating officer at Turner Sports, Matt Hong. Matt, every year Turner creates new, innovative experiences for fans to consume PGA Championship content. What can everybody expect this year from your side?
MATT HONG: Thank you, Julius. I'll echo what Dan said. We're the new kid on the block. This is our 28th year of Turner Sports being involved with the PGA of America and the PGA Championship. For most of its 28 years we've worn two different hats, and we will this year. We'll wear our TNT hat, so our television network hat. This year we'll have 18 hours of live coverage, six hours on Thursday and Friday, both starting at 2:00 East Coast time, 1:00 o'clock local time, and then we'll take the early window on Saturday and Sunday starting at 11:00 East Coast time, 10:00 local time. So 18 hours of coverage on TNT. And then we also partner with the PGA of America and collaborate to operate PGA.com and the PGA official digital assets across digital platforms. So PGA Championship Live, which is the award-winning live video product that the Turner team and the PGA team collaborate on, there will be 80-plus hours of live coverage throughout the four days. So some of that is simultaneous; if you've got multiple devices, you can watch all of the feature groups on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
JULIUS MASON: So from a personal level on your side and from a spectator experience, what excites you the most?
MATT HONG: So one of our goals every year when we work with the PGA and we work with CBS and figure out coverage, we say, we want to provide the best streaming experience. We want to provide those who are here at Bellerive watching in person with some of the things that they would have gotten were they at home on their couch or watching on their phone, and we want to provide those who are not here access and insights that they would have received at the course. So that's what we're excited about doing. We're excited about showing inside-the-ropes and behind-the-scenes coverage to folks who are at home, and we're excited for those who are here at Bellerive and able to follow along on their phones as they're on the course, text updates and short video updates and things that allow them to follow what's going on on 18 if they're camped out on 6.
JULIUS MASON: So pretty much, based on everything I just heard you and Dan talk about, there is no reason for anybody to even come to Bellerive to watch, right?
MATT HONG: (Indiscernible.)
JULIUS MASON: Matt, thanks very much. Now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the PGA of America's chief championships officer, Kerry Haigh. Kerry, you have been setting up major championship golf for the PGA of America for over 30 years now, which means you were here in 1992 setting up Bellerive for the Nick Price victory, three-shot victory I might add over John Cook, Jim Gallagher, Gene Sauers and Nick Faldo by three shots. Kerry, entertain us; what do you personally remember about that 1992 championship?
KERRY HAIGH: Well, thanks, Julius. I guess firstly, and Mike mentioned it and Paul mentioned it, was the spirit of unity, how they'd got behind and supported the championship. Just as you all are here today, this unbelievable support we have here in St. Louis for our major championship. As Mike also said, commitment from the club, the membership and the board is really appreciated. As you can see already here, we're already starting to build for this year's championship.
But specifically with regard to the '92, one of the most unique aspects was coming to work on 3:00 if not 4:00 in the morning with a rain jacket, and for once it wasn't because it was raining, it was because it was actually chilly, which takes some believing in August. Just like today is a beautiful day, hopefully we can get some temperatures in August.
The last is certainly the quality of the leaderboard. It was interesting in hindsight that the four or five names you mentioned were not necessarily the longest hitters at the time. They were all players that certainly managed their game, controlled their ball and managed strategically their way around the golf course, and certainly Nick Price and Sir Nick Faldo, being No. 1 players in the world around that same time, were blessed with great short games, as is the current No. 1. Great memories, a beautiful place, and a great golf course.
JULIUS MASON: This August does anybody need to bring outerwear?
KERRY HAIGH: We may do.
JULIUS MASON: Let's fast-forward now, 26 years later, what challenges can you tell everybody will await the best golfers in the world when they get to Bellerive Country Club?
KERRY HAIGH: Well, first and foremost, the golf course obviously has so much history that has already been shared, but it is a true, solid, good test of golf for the best players in the world. As Paul mentioned, 97 of the top 100 players in the world played last year's championship, and we fully expect a similar number if not more to play this year.
Major change from '92 has been the zoysia grass, the short-cut grasses around the green, like you see on hole 11 there, the whole chipping area to the left. That cut has been forged in and around many greens and into many of the bunkers, which obviously bring them more into play. That's probably the biggest difference from '92 is how the golf course will play. I feel it will provide and offer the best players in the world a lot more variety of shots to play, as it does for member play day in and day out.
I think it's in some ways more enjoyable to play, but at the same time, the large greens, some of the largest greens in championship golf, some 10,000 square feet, and certainly large bunkers, so that combined with the support of this entire community, I can't wait for the 100th PGA Championship to start.
JULIUS MASON: Kerry, thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, how about a hand for our guests on stage? (Applause.)
Okay, ladies and gentlemen, it's the moment we've all been waiting for. Please welcome to the stage, from Jupiter, Florida, by way of Louisville, Kentucky, defending PGA champion, Justin Thomas.
Justin, right off the bat, I just want to see how tuned in you are. Did you recognize by any chance the walk-up music?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I figured that wasn't a coincidence.
JULIUS MASON: Well, we saw this photo, and I guess just kind of had to rock with it, right? No pun intended. So when was this, how was this?
JUSTIN THOMAS: This was, I guess, about two, three weeks ago. Justin and I had been trying to connect for a year or so now. He's obviously a huge golf fan, and just haven't really been able to -- I thought my schedule was pretty busy. His is just as bad. So in terms of trying to meet up somewhere in LA or trying to do this and that, just hadn't been able to work. He was playing in Miami, and I was like, well, I'm home, and I'd love to -- he's obviously a pretty great artist and musician, so I was like, I'd love to come see him, and we got connected through one of his best friends and a guy that I know, they connected us, and so it was cool to get to talk to him a little bit before and after.
JULIUS MASON: True or false: He doesn't return your phone calls unless you're a major champion.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I don't know. I'm 0 for 1 so far.
JULIUS MASON: Our hope today is to learn a little bit more about your journey and how you're sitting with all of us today and hopefully have a little fun along the way, if you're game. So we'll start slowly with some warm-up questions just to get you in the mood if that's okay. Are you ready?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Absolutely.
JULIUS MASON: How old are you?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm 25.
JULIUS MASON: How much do you weigh?
JUSTIN THOMAS: 160 pounds.
JULIUS MASON: We're eating a little bit more food these days. Who is the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Me.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, it is quite a milestone. There are only 24 players in the history of our game that have reached that milestone, so that is quite an honor, and we are very fortunate to be with this young man today.
We had a little fun last night at summer. I think you surprised us all when you told us what your favorite movie of all time is.
JUSTIN THOMAS: "Semi Pro."
JULIUS MASON: Show of hands for those who have watched "Semi Pro." (Laughter.)
What's the longest drive you ever hit in competition?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I hit it about -- I think in Korea this year. I can't remember how far it went, but I just remember it went really far. It was 400 something. 430?
JULIUS MASON: How about we watch this video clip and find out how far it went. He's right, it was in Korea.
So Kerry Haigh is everything rules for us right now. Can we actually count that as a long drive if it gets an assist from the cart path?
KERRY HAIGH: Absolutely.
JULIUS MASON: When the Wanamaker Trophy is home with you, where does it rest at home?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I have a mantel in my house right when you walk in, it's like a little fireplace, and it sits right in between the Player of the Year trophy and the FedExCup Trophy.
JULIUS MASON: Is it the biggest trophy in the shelf?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It definitely is, yeah. Definitely is for sure.
JULIUS MASON: Who was the first golfer that you asked for an autograph?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I have no idea. My parents would know that better than me. I'm not sure.
JULIUS MASON: I'm guessing you did ask somebody for an autograph at some point.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Sure, I've asked for plenty of autographs. Especially like at the 2000 PGA, I had a bunch of autographs on there.
JULIUS MASON: Are you also a celebrity athlete autograph chaser when you were younger?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, not really. It was pretty much just golf when I was a kid. It's not like I didn't really have an opportunity to meet anybody outside of the golfers.
JULIUS MASON: Blame mom and dad for that one. Do you remember the first time somebody asked you for an autograph?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I do. It was in Port St. Lucie, Florida. I don't remember the name of the course. It was like the -- it was the rider course, and it was the third hole -- the only reason I know this is because my mom and dad used to put a lot of stuff on film, VHS, and I remember seeing it, and a guy came up and asked for my autograph and said, I think you're going to be the next Tiger Woods someday, so he thought he was asking me to sign Tiger Woods's name. (Laughter.) I didn't understand. He then explained he wanted me to sign my name. I don't know why I remember that, but I do.
JULIUS MASON: As you may have heard a little earlier from Dan, we were talking about celebrating the 100th PGA Championship this August with our friends from the Association of Golf Writers, the Golf Writers Association of America and our PGA Lifetime Achievement winners in journalism, and we asked them to identify the greatest 16 PGA Championships ever, and this is the result, as you can see, and again, our friends from CBS Sports actually came up with this bracket idea. A question for you: We actually took a straw poll over the weekend asking many of those in attendance here what their favorite championship might be. Do you want to guess at what they said?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I was hoping they would say the '17 one, but I don't see it. (Laughter.)
JULIUS MASON: I think Jeff Price said it came in No. 17.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, the 2000 was pretty unbelievable. I was there for that one. I might be a little biased, but I don't think it's a coincidence it's the 1 seed, that's for sure.
JULIUS MASON: So the answer is yes, the majority of people in here suggested that the championship that might win would be the 2000 PGA Championship. So talk about that a little bit. You said you were there; do you remember how old you were and maybe what you were doing, how many days you came out?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I was seven years old. That time of year I don't think I was in school, or if I was maybe I was sick that week. (Laughter.) I was pretty much out there every day, my dad being on the District Golf back then. I was fortunate to probably get a lot of access that a lot of seven-year olds didn't have, and I was able to meet Jack Nicklaus that week, and get his autograph. I remember he did a clinic on Tuesday or Wednesday and that was his last PGA, so it was pretty cool to meet him. Yeah, I was in the clubhouse when Tiger made that putt on 18 to get into a playoff, and I remember watching it on the TV inside and then hearing the roar kind of right when he hit the putt there was a little bit of a delay. You could hear the roar before it went on TV, and that was pretty cool.
JULIUS MASON: So Tiger, when you were that young, was pretty much a big deal in your young mind, right?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Oh, huge deal. He motivated me to get where I am now. When you're seven or eight or nine or ten and you're up there on the putting green, I was making putts to try to beat Tiger Woods in my head. So it's great to have him back now, but that being said, that kind of made me a little more biased to that tournament because he got it done.
JULIUS MASON: Let's go ahead and go back to the 2016-2017 golf season. You won three of your first five starts, if you remember. One of those victories included shooting a 59 and winning by seven shots at the Sony Open. That was no small feat.
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, it was not. It was just kind of one of those crazy weeks that you may have once a round in your career or one, two, three times a week in your career where just everything is on and everything is clicking, and pretty much you just try to stay unconscious as long as you can.
JULIUS MASON: Can you remember your low round as a high schooler and your low round as a collegiate athlete?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The high school -- competitively?
JULIUS MASON: Yeah.
JUSTIN THOMAS: As a high schooler, I think I shot 63 in high school, or 64 in a high school event. And then in college I think 64 is my low round in a collegiate event. I think that's what it was.
JULIUS MASON: So let's jump five months later to your 63 at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, the only 9-under 63 in U.S. Open history. That you remember, right? But you did it really by turning heads on the final hole. And I think we want to watch this video so we can talk about this.
So you eagle 18. It's a 667-yard par-5. Where does that shot rank in your entire career?
JUSTIN THOMAS: In terms of difficulty and being able to repeat at the end, I mean, it has to be in the top two. The shot that I hit at 17 in the PGA was I would call the best shot of my career. It's just the circumstances it was under. But I mean, the more I see it, the more I watch the video, the more I think about it, the more I truly don't understand how I actually did that. (Laughter.) It doesn't make sense.
JULIUS MASON: So you clearly twirl the club and look away. What are you saying, if anything, to yourself?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, I said -- I was in a very similar yardage spot the day prior to kind of a back pin. Had a little bit more wind the day before, and anything left of that green goes way off and goes down into a swale, and if it gets in the rough, you pretty much can't get it up-and-down, unless you make a really long putt. You're just trying to make 5.
The pin was on the front left, and adjusted I had 306, but it was hot, it was downwind, your adrenaline is pumping, so the 3-wood I had was -- I can hit pretty far, so the miss was right. So all I was trying to do, I was trying to start it left of the green and just over-cut it, just over-cut it and be short in that bunker, and kind of came off a little left, and it kept cutting, and it was on line, and I was like, oh, gosh, be good. Pretty much just begging at that point.
And it's crazy but it was so far away, you really had no idea. And because the wind was downwind, we couldn't hear them clapping that much.
JULIUS MASON: So you didn't know where it landed?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I saw it land, but because it's kind of an elevated green, I could just barely, barely like make -- no offense, Jimmy can't see it. (Laughter.) He was like, where is it? I could hear the crowd a little bit, and I was like, I think it's on. We had no idea that it was six, seven feet. It was one of those as we walked up closer and closer to the green, I was a little bit happier.
JULIUS MASON: Was there any conversation at all with Jimmy when you reached this monster of a drive that you might lay up?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, it was a really difficult, really difficult pin to wedge it to because how the green sits, it kind of -- if I was hitting this way, the pin was kind of like in a little shelf, and the front of the green goes like this and the back of the green goes like this, so if I was wedging it, I had probably seven or eight yards to hit it in, if you're laying up and had to hit it in this way. We talked about possibly a 2-iron, just hitting a little low hooking 2-iron, trying to run it up to the front of the green or run it at the green where I could chip it onto the green, but with this club I felt like as long as I didn't double-cross it, I thought this was the better club.
JULIUS MASON: So you lead the U.S. Open, and we're finally in August, we're at the PGA Championship. To set the stage, you're one of the top young professionals, playing well coming in to Quail Hollow, who is yet to win a major championship. How about if we remind everybody here what happened in August?
Want to watch it again? (Laughter.)
Take us back to Saturday of championship week. You said that the 69 you shot probably won you the tournament. Why do you say that?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, Saturday was brutal. On Saturday the scores were very high. It didn't feel like it was great or anything special when I was doing it because I was playing so solid. I was driving the ball well. I just had really great control of everything. I had some great up-and-downs. I made a couple birdies on that back nine to post the 69 that I did, and when I got done and basically saw the scores, I realized how good of a number it was. I feel like you can usually -- not necessarily in majors, but in a lot of tournament, Saturday, they call it moving day for a reason. They usually get it set up easier or at least so you can score, and even places like THE PLAYERS or last week when we had a little softer conditions, you shoot 68 or 69, you're not gaining any ground, which isn't very fun. But that's just how it is.
And shooting that round, kind of not expecting it to be -- to get me closer to the lead like I thought it did, I felt like I was just in such a good frame of mind and focused the entire week that when I got done and saw how it had moved me up, it was huge.
JULIUS MASON: On Sunday, you started the day two back. On the front nine at one point you were four back of the leader, Hideki Matsuyama. At that point when you make the turn, are you thinking the lead is too big, I can't win this championship?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Never. I had a great feeling throughout the day, the entire time. I don't know what it was. Just like I said, I felt like I had great control of my emotions all week. Just my game really felt good. I was swinging it well, hitting it well, driving it well, which for me is huge, especially out there, and I was putting it well. So just everything -- nothing was great, nothing was unbelievable, but everything was just good enough where if I stayed in this positive, good mental frame of mind, then I knew I was going to have a good chance, especially at a place like Quail Hollow, which is I think one of the best golf courses when it was set up like that because with the rough the way it was, if you drove it well, you could make birdies, but if you didn't, it was just so hard to save par. I think that's a perfect way a golf course should be.
JULIUS MASON: We saw the video quickly on the last video clip of your shot. Let's roll this video again and walk us through what was going through your mind.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, Jimmy and I, I called him 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. First off, 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.
JULIUS MASON: Before you started to walk away in disbelief, are you close enough to tell if it's hanging on the lip or if it's going to drop?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it seems weird. 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.
JULIUS MASON: Do you allow -- that putt drops, do you allow anything to enter your mind walking away from that putt saying, oh, my God, destiny is on my side; this championship is mine to win?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's hard to not think that way, but it's easy to think that way, if that makes sense, because you just work so hard on golf, especially when you're playing when you're like, all right, well, I'm 7-under through 10. It's like, all right, well, I've got 12, the par-5, and then 13 is short, I can birdie that one. And then I've got 16, the par-5, and then next thing you know you forget about 11 and you bogey 11, and you're mad, and you bogey 12, and you're like, what was I doing. Yeah, Jimmy did a great job, my caddie, when we got on 11 tee. He's like, it's over with. We've got to refocus, we have got to regroup. There's a lot of golf left, and I wasn't even leading the tournament. I don't think I was, because Hideki made a long putt there at 12. We just had to regroup and just play good golf.
JULIUS MASON: So your chip on 13 delivered another birdie. I think you were quoted saying it's the most berserk you've ever gone on a golf course after a shot.
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was. Actually I hope I can say, the best part about this video is my dad. Just look at the buy in the pink shirt in the background. See if you can see him. See him right there? That's my favorite part of the video. That tells you how many times I've watched that. Yeah, it's just -- 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 just -- it was my first ever time I was able to do that, and I'm just yelling, and it was like -- it was pretty cool to get that pumped up.
JULIUS MASON: All right, so now we're at the 220-yard par-3, 17th, a very, very scary hole surrounded by water. It's a hole that if you can believe this, you've never birdied. You didn't birdie it in the championship and you never birdied that hole in any other competition at Quail Hollow when you played.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Huh.
JULIUS MASON: How about that? So you have a one-shot lead. Give us your best Jim Nantz commentary on this one.
JUSTIN THOMAS: My voice isn't as good. But yeah, I had about 197 or so front, and the pin was like 217 with the adjustment downhill. Just 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, and it rolled up to the green, 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, and that's -- I told Jimmy, with another word in there, how do you like that 2 right there.
But it was just a hole and a shot that I'll never forget. I mean, 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, and I was fortunate last year to put myself in some good positions to have that adrenaline and know how to handle it, and that was definitely -- I'm done handling it.
JULIUS MASON: So what was the conversation on the tee before you hit that ball?
JUSTIN THOMAS: On 17? Well, like I said, it was something like 195 or 198 front, and the water is like seven short of that, so we'll say it was 190 to cover the water. I hit a 7 about 185 stock, and 190 is about the max. So I know what he's doing when I was like, I'll hit 7-iron, he's looking at that water and he's like, that's about 190 to cover that water, and you hit a 7-iron about 190. I know what was going through his head. But he gets it. He's caddied for Nick Price, Steve Stricker in a lot of tournaments, and he knows what adrenaline is like, and especially in a major. So I just -- being a left pin, you want to work something right to left in there. If I'm going to take something off a 6-iron, I can't cut it to that pin. Again, we were just trying to make 3, 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, and I gave him a good sale job, I guess.
JULIUS MASON: So after your win, there were many from the sports and entertainment world who were very happy about your victory. Do you know all of these celebrities?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I know T-Dub, Andre, Nile. David Ortiz and I have had some exchanges, but we've never actually met. I've met and been around the other guys. I mean, David Ortiz is the reason I put 34 on my social media account. I was a big, big fan of his growing up. I don't know why, but my uncle and my aunt kind of grew up in that Boston area, and I never got anything as a birthday or Christmas gift unless it was Red Sox stuff. Being in Louisville not having any professional sports teams, my fan base was kind of all over the place. So I'm more than happy to be recruited as a St. Louis fan, as well. (Applause.)
He's reached out a couple times through social media saying, congratulations, which is really cool. I don't know if he's a golf fan or not, but other athletes -- when you hear from guys that you've either idolized or looked up to, it's pretty cool.
JULIUS MASON: I think it's shocking that 34 is part of your social media handle, and you've not met David Ortiz yet. That kind of blows my mind.
JUSTIN THOMAS: We need to do that this year.
JULIUS MASON: Speaking of trying to get the hometown crowd behind you, I wonder if there's anything we could do to make them want to root for you during championship week. What's your middle name?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Louis.
JULIUS MASON: As in Saint?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. (Laughter.)
JULIUS MASON: So after your win later that week, you had dinner with one of your idols, one of your golf heroes that you were talking about earlier. Talk about the relationship you have with Tiger. This had to be pretty special.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it was cool. Tiger, he's been a pretty big influence for me. Like I said earlier, had a huge impact on me wanting to play golf, and being as competitive as I am. But just probably the last few years or so, we've become decent friends to start and then stayed in touch. We'll play golf or play practice rounds. I've always been one that if I can get advice from people, I feel like you can never hear too much advice. You can take in what you want and what you don't want or what you feel like is going to help you or not help you, but I've always felt like I'm never going to learn anything if I don't ask. Guys like him, guys like Phil, guys like Davis Love, guys from other sports, MJ, Tom Brady, anybody that has been the best in their sport or has been successful for a long time, I just pick their brain. I feel like there's nothing wrong that can come from that.
I will say Tiger is not as willing to give information as when he was hurt, but he's still been great. I think my mom was in town and my girlfriend, and he wanted to get together to kind of celebrate with some family and friends, so that was cool that he had us at his restaurant, and I decided to bring the trophy, and he was a little jealous that I had mine. He wanted to get his, but I didn't really feel too sorry for him.
JULIUS MASON: So jumping around a little bit more, after this, let's state first that you went to University of Alabama. You sport the Crimson Tide logo on your golf bag still, I believe, and after the PGA Championship you get a phone call from Nick Saban, right?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I did. It was -- he left me a voicemail. I was going a little crazy there for a couple days, so it took me a little bit to get back to people, and I eventually did, but in terms of phone calls, I had a lot of media and stuff, but I got a call from an unknown number, and I didn't answer it naturally, and I had a voicemail and he left me a very nice voicemail just congratulating me, and wished me well, and we've gotten to know each other, him and some of the golf team that know each other just through -- Coach Saban is very close with our golf coach, Coach Seawell, so we were very fortunate enough to develop a little bit of a relationship, and that was a pretty cool phone call to get.
JULIUS MASON: Fast forward again, Alabama wins the national championship, and you called Coach hoping to leave a voicemail, but you weren't able to, right?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, in Hawai'i this year after Coach made one of the gutsiest calls to take out Jalen and put Tua in, and we win that game in overtime, I was still in shock. It was unbelievable, but yeah, I just wanted to call him and kind of same thing. I knew that -- I'm sure he had to do so many more things than I had to do in terms of media and everything, so I just wanted to call him and leave him a voicemail and congratulate him. About two rings, and he answered the phone. I was like, Coach? He's like, what's up? Nothing; what are you doing? (Laughter.) I'm like kind of -- you know, running through this what you're going to say in your head, and then he answered, and I froze. I didn't know what to do. Actually the first thing he did was give my dad some grief because he was watching golf the week before when Jimmy went down with his achilles in Kapalua for the Tournament of Champions, so my dad had to caddie the last three days. So Coach was like, did I see your dad trying to carry that bag around. I was like, yeah, that was him. It was pretty surprising to say the least.
JULIUS MASON: There were some other people waiting to congratulate you greenside after you won your first major championship. Can we talk about this dynamic for a second? I mean, in the old days when Jack, Gary, Arnold were playing, they weren't hanging around greenside waiting to hug and shake hands and congratulate their friends or their competitors. What's the deal with this? This is kind of new for everybody maybe in this room.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's -- I don't really know how to explain it other than just -- I mean, it's some of your best friends. It's not like I'm -- I mean, I only do this for a handful of people. I only do it for my closest friends and guys -- I'm happy for anybody that wins on the PGA TOUR or whenever they win, but there's guys that I'm rooting for each week if they get in contention if I don't have a chance to win, and those guys, it was pretty cool that they stuck around. Actually it was Bud that was right behind Rickie, I remember walking -- I was hitting putts probably eight to ten minutes before I teed off, and Bud was walking to the scoring tent, so he had finished before I even teed off, and he hung around the entire day, not knowing what was going to happen and was there. So that was -- Jordan and Rick I think kind of played in the middle of the day so at least they didn't have to wait as long. But Matt Killen there in the pink shirt and the cop sunglasses there behind him, he's Bud's coach, and they were talking that they were kind of sticking around, they didn't know what to do. It's pretty cool when you come off and get to celebrate and enjoy such a moment like that and some of your best friends are there waiting for you.
JULIUS MASON: I think we have a photo of some other people greenside. Ladies and gentlemen, how about a formal St. Louis welcome to Mike and Jani Thomas? Pretend I'm not here. Who was harder on you growing up, mom or dad?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm trying to think. I'm trying to see who would I ask if I wanted something, and then who would I want my punishment to be from? No, they were both -- they were very equal in terms of neither one of them pressured me. They never forced me to do anything. I mean, they -- after seeing me probably play other sports, they knew if I wanted to play professionally in a sport, I probably needed to stick with golf, but they wanted me to do whatever I wanted to do, what I was going to be happy doing, and it just so happened to be golf, and they've been supportive every step of the way.
JULIUS MASON: I think we saw in the video an awful lot said about your grandfather and your dad, the relationship. Can you talk a little bit about how they helped shape your career and your passion for the game?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. That was a fun day. That was Thanksgiving probably four years ago, three or four years ago, and we don't get to -- us three don't get to play very often anymore. I don't even get to play with my dad very often anymore, but definitely not with my dad and my grandpa. We used to play so much as a kid, and my grandpa played on the TOUR for a long time. He played in the Jack and Arnie era, so he's played against some really good players, and he has a lot of great stories that it doesn't matter how many times I've heard them, I love to hear them every single time I hear them again.
Myself now being the third generation of a PGA member in the Thomas family is pretty cool, so winning this last August had so much special meaning to it.
JULIUS MASON: Let's divert here. Let's get Mike the microphone. You have a golf ball collection, we understand, and I have a photo of it. You started collecting golf balls from Justin's victories. Now, you don't start this unless you think you're going to win more than two events. Be honest. Talk about that. How did that start? When did it start?
MIKE THOMAS: I mean, actually I didn't start thinking that he was going to win -- I don't even know, it was 134, 136 -- there's room for four more up there. I can get another case.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm trying.
MIKE THOMAS: You know, it's funny, like any parent when they accomplish something, they keep a souvenir from it. Like the first time he walked we have a picture or whatever, and being a golfing family, he won his tournament, and I said, I'm just going to keep this ball right on there, the date, what he shot, and his first win, and that was like the last ball I was ever going to have. And then a couple days later, he won again, and I was like, this is cool. It was literally eight or ten balls later before we were like, wow, we have a collection here. I didn't intend for it to be there. This is full. Look at that.
JULIUS MASON: Do you remember the very first victory?
MIKE THOMAS: It was at Sun Valley Golf Course. I was working very long hours at that time, and I'm sorry to say I did not attend many of those events, but mom, she drove him everywhere and carted him all over the country. It was at Sun Valley. He was seven or eight years old, he won the 12-and-under division and shot 44. Back in those days, he couldn't reach any of the holes. He was hitting drivers on the par-3s. That was pretty cool.
JULIUS MASON: So if Jack Peter from the World Golf Hall of Fame were to call you up and say, listen, Mr. Thomas, we have a place for that in the World Golf Hall of Fame, how much would it cost for us to get that off your hands?
MIKE THOMAS: You know, it's not really about that. That little display -- if you get some more balls in there it's going to be worth more, so we're going to hold on to it. That's our golf shop back at Harmony Landing Country Club, and we've always displayed Justin's memorabilia in the golf shop because it's really a tribute to the membership. We had the Wanamaker there for a couple months, and it's a tribute to the membership that supported me, supported him all this time. They enjoy seeing that stuff, and we wanted it to be there for them to enjoy. The kids come in and they enjoy it.
JULIUS MASON: Jani, were you and Mike in attendance for let's say more than half of those victories?
JANI THOMAS: Probably I was there without him; would you say?
MIKE THOMAS: There's no question. I was home paying for them. (Laughter.)
JANI THOMAS: Especially the Kentucky ones. I mean, yeah, Justin would drive around -- and then, yeah, I bet he was only there for maybe a fourth of his wins.
JULIUS MASON: How much do you travel now with Justin? Do you see him a lot on TOUR?
JANI THOMAS: Yes, we do. We had sort of a nice last year. Mike has been out more, so I'll go for a little with him and we'll have the time. As Justin has -- I mean, I try to go as much as I can.
JULIUS MASON: All right, Justin, you like setting goals, so let's take a look at the goals you set for the 2016-2017 golf season. Everybody see that? Give yourself a grade on what you accomplished here.
JUSTIN THOMAS: From last year?
JULIUS MASON: Yeah.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'd give myself an A. I didn't do -- I wanted the top 10 in half my starts. I wanted that one. Top 30 in scrambling I didn't get, and then I think I wasn't under par on the par-3s.
JULIUS MASON: Are you superstitious? If I asked that question -- and sadly I know what the answer is going to be to this question, you're not going to share your goals this year with us, are you?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No.
JULIUS MASON: I didn't think so. Can you tell us if being world-ranked No. 1 was on your goals?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I really don't know. I haven't looked at the list for a while. It's on my phone.
JULIUS MASON: We can break it out real quick.
JUSTIN THOMAS: But I'm sure -- I feel like it probably was somewhere on there, but I truly am not sure.
JULIUS MASON: Where were you when you found out you were No. 1 in the world?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I was flying home with my mom and dad, going back to Jupiter.
JULIUS MASON: Did you get a text, an email --
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think it had officially come out -- I guess DJ had finally finished, and I don't know how these people figure out the projections and everything, but whoever did, I guess, said that that's what it's going to be, and then I had my manager reach out to me and then some media people did. But yeah, it was pretty cool to be with my parents when it came out.
JULIUS MASON: Can I ask you just a couple quick Ryder Cup questions. You didn't make the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team, but you were definitely in the conversation, and looking at this Tweet here on the screen, it looks like you were all in, so to speak. How much did you watch the Ryder Cup?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I didn't -- I watched everything on Sunday. No disrespect, an Alabama football game was on Saturday, and I was in Tuscaloosa, so I didn't watch anything on Saturday. But I was extremely, extremely -- I was rooting for the guys -- I mean, these are all my friends, and there's no reason to feel any sort of -- not even hatred but just the jealousy aspect of not being on the team. Yeah, I was bummed. I was upset and disappointed I didn't make the team, but Ryan earned that last pick and everybody that was on that team earned their way on that team, and they're representing the United States of America, which I'm a part of, and I wanted them to crush them, and I was pretty excited to see that they got it on.
JULIUS MASON: Are you a Ryder Cup points list watcher?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I was a couple years ago, and I think it hurt me a little bit because I wanted to make the team so bad that I think it would get in my mind sometimes when I was out there playing.
JULIUS MASON: Look at that photograph on the wall. I just want to let everybody in the room know where you are on the Ryder Cup points list --
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think I can look. (Laughter.)
JULIUS MASON: You know, Kerry Haigh, who we heard from earlier, is the one that actually does the calculations for us. He lets us know when somebody secures a spot. I'm going to put him on the spot right now; what do you think, Kerry, here we are in June, Ryder Cup is in September. Justin got a pretty good chance to make the team?
KERRY HAIGH: Absolutely.
JULIUS MASON: But we can't put that asterisk by his name yet?
KERRY HAIGH: A few weeks.
JULIUS MASON: Okay, very good. The Ryder Cup is going to be played in France. You're planning on competing at Le Golf National at the French Open this year. Is that a coincidence, or were you always planning that.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, I was told by Captain Furyk if I didn't go he was going to bench me. No. (Laughter.)
No, it was something that -- I've obviously never played the course. A lot of guys have never played the course, and just was looking at the schedule, and the fact that the French Open is at the golf course this year, and the National in D.C. for the PGA TOUR event, I love that course. It's a great tournament, but I just was kind of looking at it in terms of if there's a year to miss it, this would be a great time to because I have the opportunity to go over there and go -- I haven't played a European Tour event when I first started as a pro and I played the Dunhill Links. So get some exposure over in Europe and just -- I mean, get to go through the experience, experience France a little bit and see the golf course and hopefully be able to report back a little bit to the guys and just go check it out a little bit.
JULIUS MASON: I mean, you've experienced France before. You've played tournament golf in France before. I think we have a photograph of you playing tournament golf in France before. I'll tell you what: Jordan Spieth looks a little bit like Jordan Spieth, but you do not look like Justin Thomas. (Laughter.)
What can you remember about this photo or this tournament?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I remember the week was awesome. It was cool that -- I think it was my first international event out of the country. It actually may have been my first time out of the country. I was 14.
JANI THOMAS: You might have played an AJGA in Mexico, but I think that's --
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah. Well, it was my first time representing my country. So it was pretty cool playing with Grayson and Aaron and Jordan, and I had met Jordan once at a tournament a couple weeks prior but had never really spent much time with him, and because of whatever the situation was that week, we were roommates, so I got to hang out with him quite a bit, and that's where we became good friends. But it was a really cool week. It was the week before the Evian Masters, the LPGA event, and it was funny, I remember watching -- meeting and watching Michelle Wie come out. She's one of my really good friends down in Jupiter, and she actually found a picture of us that week. We asked for a picture with Michelle, and it's pretty funny how different both of us look in the picture.
JULIUS MASON: You beat Jordan by eight shots, just by the way.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I did, yeah. (Laughter.) I didn't want to say it, though.
JULIUS MASON: So finally, let's talk about the golf course here. You got a chance to see it today, right?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I did, yeah. It's a great course. You can tell -- it's a great driving golf course. Driving is going to be premium. The holes are -- have great shape to them. A lot of them kind of go out and then dogleg and then kind of are still aware if you're going to want to challenge it to go farther up you're going to really need to be precise, so it's like, I'm going to need to hit 3-wood here or -- a great example would be like, I felt like 10 or like 18 where you kind of want to hit it out to the dogleg, but then if you get a little help or you get a little downwind, if I want to challenge that, my area to hit it in is going to be a lot smaller, where I'm going to have the reward of having maybe a wedge or 9-iron as opposed to a 7- or 6-iron, but coming into greens this severe and with this many tears and slopes, shorter putts are going to be a big advantage. It's definitely going to be a lot of practice on the drivers and 3-woods.
JULIUS MASON: You played with Mike Tucker today, right?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah.
JULIUS MASON: Did you take any money from him? Did you give him any shots --
JUSTIN THOMAS: I thought that would be a little rude and disrespectful to come to his place and do that to him. I thought we should just play a friendly.
JULIUS MASON: Mike, from your perspective, what did you see today when you watched and played with Justin on your golf course?
MIKE TUCKER: Sure. First off, it was an honor and privilege to play with Justin. We negotiated four a side last night, and I think Michael kept score. When I got my four a side, I think I did okay. And I did birdie No. 1 and I saw the fear in his eyes, so I -- he had a bogeyless round --
JULIUS MASON: I'm sorry, please repeat that so everyone can hear it.
MIKE TUCKER: A bogey-free round. Made a great up-and-down on 1, a nice little par from the water on 2, and then put on the most spectacular display of driving I've ever seen. And I've played this golf course many times, hundreds of times --
JULIUS MASON: You've played it with many, many professionals, too.
MIKE TUCKER: With a lot of very good players, professional golfers, where Justin, where you were driving the ball, not only was it -- it was obviously the distance, the carry, but it was splitting it down the fairways, and like you said, to your point, on No. 4, which is played about 514 as a par-4, you took it over the corner of the bunker and had 180 in, which now you're hitting a short or mid iron in there. Spectacular tee shot on our eighth hole, which is a par-5 at 600-plus yards, you hit it with a little bit of draw into what you found out later was a pretty narrow landing area, but it was absolutely perfect, and knocked a 3-wood on the green, and I said on the tee shot, I said, it's not really a reachable par-5. I'm not saying you can't get it there -- (laughter.)
And then on 10, another perfectly-positioned drive, 500-yard par-4. I think you had 175 in there. And then on the 17, from the back tee, we had 590, which can be played from 590 or 530, I said, why don't we go play the 530 so we can maybe get there in to. Well, of course from the back tee, kills a drive, hits a little speed slot, knocks a 5-wood hole high. So the two par-5s I didn't really think were reachable, well, they're reachable now.
But it did take -- obviously some good short game, which I appreciate, and some good wedge work. But it would be fun to see you do that again in August.
JULIUS MASON: Kerry was taking notes up here. You were pissing him off. (Laughter.)
How important is it to see a golf course before you play a championship on it?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, it helps. I mean, getting this round in today was big, just because when I come in here for the PGA, I'm not going to be totally fresh or just totally unknown what the course is. I'm going to step up to holes and say, okay, like for example on 2 today, for the most part when I go to play a course I've never played, first time at a tournament I pretty much just hit driver everywhere unless there's literally something there that I cannot hit it over or in between. And I was like, all right, I think I can kind of squeeze a driver between the water and the bunker, and I hit it, and I hit it in the water, and I got out there, and I was like, yeah, this is not a driver hole at all.
Yeah, so getting to holes like that to where I won't have that unknown of what club do I hit, I'm going to get to holes like that. Or holes like 11 where they may possibly move up, and I know -- I already have a pretty good idea if it's moved up that I'll be able to kind of hit like a little low cut and try to run it up onto the green or something like that, and I can miss left. There's a little bit of an area where I can chip up onto the green.
I'm just going to have -- a lot of guys have played this course in past tournaments or whatever it may be, but a lot of guys my age haven't. It was nice to get a round in.
JULIUS MASON: Much like you did with some of the other video, walk us through 18. Thank you very much, by the way, for allowing all of our cameras to set up on 18 to watch the eagle happen. That makes us very happy. Walk us through 18.
JUSTIN THOMAS: I hit driver off the tee. I was kind of trying to just hit a little draw off that right bunker. I didn't think I could reach it being into the wind and just a little bit of a draw, it kind of kicked it around that bunker, and I just tugged it barely, but because I pulled it, I hit it a little bit farther and carried off that bunker, and I had 125 in, a little into the wind, and that front pin, I just tried to hole a pitching wedge. It landed a little off the right, and the hole just happened to get in the way.
JULIUS MASON: Justin, thank you very much for being with us today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports