ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Prior to this week, Justin Thomas had never stepped foot on the grounds at Oak Hill Country Club, but so far it’s lived up to its reputation.
“It’s tough. It’s Northeast,” said Thomas. “I love the way the courses look up here, just the definition of the fairway to the rough and the cutting of the bunkers, and I love the square, the kind of sharp edges on the greens.”
Thomas won the Wanamaker Trophy at Southern Hills last year but hasn’t won a tournament since, with just one top-five finish this season. Perhaps defending his title could snap him into shape?
“The feelings can translate and the memories can translate, but a lot of things and swings and putts and chips have happened since then,” said Thoams. “That part is hard to relate.”
Those swings and putts have shaken his confidence a bit. He says he’s shown up to tournaments in the last year not thinking he could win, a feeling that he says simply sucks.
“I mean, how I described it for a couple of months is I’ve never felt so far and so close at the same time,” said Thomas. “That’s a very hard thing to explain, and it’s also a very hard way to try to compete and win a golf tournament. That’s how you get out of it, just playing your way out of it and hitting the shots when you want to and making those putts when you need to, and then your confidence builds back up, and next thing you know, you don’t even remember what you were thinking in those times.”
Since it’s been a decade since the PGA has returned to Oak Hill, Thomas was asked what advice he would give 2013 JT right now.
“That everything is not as big of a deal as you think it is. I think everything always seems like the end of the world,” said Thomas. “I feel like if I would have learned things a little bit sooner in terms of my bad rounds, my bad weeks, I feel like I would have been better off earlier. But it’s just hard when you’re 20, 21, or 22 years old to not think that playing badly on a Sunday isn’t the end of the world when it’s not the end of the world.
A good mindset to have for sure beginning a major championship week.