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Like Mickelson at Kiawah, Thomas Flying Under Radar

June 15, 2021 - 5:16 PM
Justin Thomas certainly would love following Phil Mickelson's formula from the PGA at Torrey Pines this week: arrive overlooked and go on to take the title. (Robert Beck/USGA)

In Monday’s news conference, Phil Mickelson noted how well he had been playing in the run-up to his victory last month in the PGA Championship, despite the seeming lack of results. World No. 2 Justin Thomas – who has only one top-20 finish in seven starts since winning The Players Championship in March – sounded a similar theme on Tuesday.

On his U.S. Open preparation: “I’ve been working harder than I ever have. Really just been trying to equate some results with how I feel like I’ve been close to playing. I clearly haven’t been playing well and consistent, but I definitely have been playing better than the results have shown. I think a lot of that is just fighting some things here and there in my golf swing and in my putting, but a lot of it is mental as well, and being a little bit nicer and easier on myself. That's something I definitely have worked on.”

On refining his routine ahead of a major: “I want to make sure everything’s perfect, but something I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what kind of state my game is in; if I’m not mentally fresh and ready, it really doesn’t matter. Yesterday, I came out and played 18 holes, and I played well; everything felt good, my swing was good, and putting and chipping felt good, so I just left when I got done. Whereas if I need to do a little bit of work, I may just try to turn a 45-minute session into 25 or 30; just minimizing the hours spent out here and maximizing the hours spent at home resting and getting my mind where it needs to be. It’s something that I just have tried to implement over the years.”