AUGUSTA, Ga. – Golf is hard. Golf at the Masters is harder. Justin Thomas was reminded in a cold, unforgiving way Thursday when he simply could not get focused during an opening round of 4-over 76.
“That was far and away the most pissed off I’ve been after a round in a really, really long time,” he said Friday.
“I couldn’t get into the round. I just couldn’t get into the moment, which is sad and a bummer on the first round of the Masters. ”
No kidding. But if nothing else, in Round 2 Thomas was hellbent on doing something about it. Instead of surrendering on a tough, windblown Friday, he fought back with a 5-under 67 to match leader Scottie Scheffler for the best round of the day.
Thomas’ mind was clear for the rematch with Augusta National, in part, because he didn’t bother consuming any commentary on his brutal start.
“I try to avoid it usually anyway,” Thomas said. “They’ve got to talk about something. They’re just going to keep talking and talking, and eventually something is probably going to get brought up that either is wrong or I disagree with or I don’t really want to hear. ”
Thomas said that his fiancée, Jill, asked if he wanted to talk about what went wrong, and that he initially asked her for some time alone.
“I played fetch with my dog for like 45 minutes, and Jill was out there with me,” Thomas said. “I just kind of sulked and pissed and moaned for about 30 minutes and had some dinner and went to bed.”
Why in the world wouldn’t a player as accomplished as Thomas – winner of 14 PGA tour events and the 2017 PGA Championship – find a way to get locked into his opening round at the sport’s most prestigious major?
“It’s weird, man,” he said Friday. “I couldn’t get focused. I couldn’t get in the moment. I couldn’t get present. All I could think about was anything other than what I was doing. It sucks when you are playing a place like this because you can’t do that. ”You’re just looking to see what other people are doing. You’re looking at the leaderboards. You are looking a couple of holes over. You’re thinking about, ‘Why did I screw up two holes ago?’ instead of just focus on what you are doing like I did today. ”
Thomas made up for lost time in the second round and finished the day at 1-under for the tournament, seven shots behind Scheffler.
“I played beautifully,” he said.
Thomas will need to do that another two times to win his first green jacket.