Justin Thomas on Sawgrass finale: ‘Probably one of the best rounds of my life’
Justin Thomas admitted he was exceptionally dialed in during the final round of the Players Championship, as he narrowly held off Lee Westwood for the win.
The American was seven shots off the lead after 36 holes and still three behind Westwood heading into the final round, but followed a 64 on Saturday with a 68 on Sunday to claim a 14th PGA Tour title and the £1.9million first prize.
The victory makes Thomas only the fourth player ever to win the Players Championship, a major championship, a World Golf Championships event and the FedEx Cup after Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy.
Interestingly, Thomas admitted that the return of fans made for a much tougher challenge out there, although lucky for him he had a rock-solid game to rely on.
“I tell you what, it’s a lot harder than when there weren’t fans here, that’s for sure, and I’m so happy they’re back and I’m so happy to be a Players champion,” he said.
“I fought so hard today. I stayed really patient. Probably one of the best rounds of my life tee to green. I had total control of the ball and was hitting a lot of good putts, I just wasn’t holing anything.
“But I stayed patient and stayed patient… I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff on TV happen in the past on this back nine, so I was glad to be on the better side of it this year.”
Thomas is good friends with Tiger Woods and said he was lucky enough to receive some encouragement from the 15-time major champion during the tournament.
“I was replaying what he told me a lot in my head. He likes to give me a lot of grief, especially when he’s not here,” he said.
“Like Collin [Morikawa] and Bryson [DeChambeau] said, we’re all pulling for him and I’m so glad to hear everything’s been going well with him.
“Part of me wishes he was here so I could rub it in his face a little more, but no, I’m happy and I hope he’s happy and I’ll always appreciate his help.”
Asked what particular advice Tiger had given him, Thomas said he’d keep that between the two of them.
“It’s been a lot of stuff, but you know, but it’s between us. It’s great. He’s so nice to myself and Bryson and so many guys out here.
“If you would have told us when we were 15, 20 years old that Tiger Woods is texting us the night before we have a chance to win a tournament, trying to inspire us… it’s pretty cool.”
Thomas recently lost his grandfather, with whom he had a very close relationship, and he had to fight through tears when asked how much of a part of his grandfather was with him today.
“A lot. I wish I could talk to him… but I know he’s watching,” Thomas said.
Injury rules Open champion Cameron Smith out of BMW Championship
The Australian world number two currently sits third in the FedEx Cup standings, 1,132 points behind leader Will Zalatoris.
Will Zalatoris triumphs in dramatic playoff to claim first PGA Tour win
The American defeated Austria’s Sepp Straka in three extra holes at TPC Southwind – despite not making a birdie.
Ewen Ferguson seals wire-to-wire victory at ISPS Handa World Invitational
The 26-year-old Scot also won the Qatar Masters in March.
New Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald motivated by ‘bitter’ memories of 2021 defeat
Stenson was stripped of the role for breaking his contract by joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
The task facing Luke Donald after replacing Henrik Stenson
Stenson was appointed on March 15 and said he was fully committed to a role before signing with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
Tony Finau claims second straight PGA Tour victory
The American won the 3M Open in his previous outing.
Henrik Stenson cushions Ryder Cup blow with £3.6m debut win in LIV Golf
The Swede was stripped of his role as Europe captain after joining the Saudi-backed breakaway tour.
Former Masters champion Bubba Watson becomes latest player to join LIV Golf
The left-hander is currently sidelined by a knee injury and is not expected to play until next season,
Luke Donald tipped to replace Henrik Stenson as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain
The Swede lost the job 127 days after his appointment following his decision to join the LIV Golf series.