Wednesday’s Sony Open Pro-Am was an opportunity for some golfers to relax and enjoy golfing 18 holes at the Waialae Country Club ahead of the first round of the 2018 Sony Open. But for others, like Justin Thomas, it was an opportunity to learn the course and build chemistry with his interim caddie.
“It’s been great,” Thomas said about working with Jim “Bones” MacKay after Wednesday’s Pro-Am. “It’s fun just because it’s different - it’s different for him, and it’s different for me. I’m so used to Jimmy (Johnson) and obviously, I’d take Jimmy over anybody in the world but when you get used to someone for two and a half years and you get someone different, they do things differently … and it’s not that it’s bad or that it’s good, it’s just different.”
“Bones”, the former caddie of Phil Mickelson current NBC and Golf Channel analyst, is filling in for Johnson who is suffering from a bout of plantar fasciitis after two rounds at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua.
But Thomas, who won the Sony Open this time last year with a spectacular performance, isn’t too worried about his caddie on Thursday as he’s more concerned with regaining the form he had at last year’s tournament.
“It’s not very often in your career that you play that well for four straight days,” Thomas said of last year’s Sony Open. “It was obviously very fun, but it was a really big confidence boost for me to play as well as I did with a lead that I had.”
At 24 years of age, Thomas is considered one of the young guns on the PGA Tour. But he’s more confident than ever that he can perform against any golfer on tour.
“I don’t have the sense of panic,” he said. “I just know that I don’t need to be what I thought I had to be to be in contention. I don’t have to go out and play this perfect round. I know that if I go shot one-under in the first round of this tournament that I still have a chance to win. I know that I’m not gonna win every tournament, i know that I’m going to have weeks that I’m off.”
Knowing that he can’t play perfect on every hole, Thomas has instead focused on the little things that give him a big advantage when push comes to shove.
“I think it’s just more of the fact of my body language … when I look at players, and I’m not going to name or say any specific tournaments, but I’ve been in tournaments in the past where I’ve been coming down the stretch and I can see the person just like, they don’t want to win,” he said. “They look fatigued, they’re dragging, their heads down, they don’t look confident - they don’t look like they want to win.”
Thomas will look to win consecutive Sony Open titles starting with tomorrow’s first round. Thomas tees off at 12:40 p.m. HT (5:40 p.m., ET.)
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