Justin Thomas praised the position of Jim Mackay in his PGA Championship triumph because the caddie’s absent former employer continued to loom massive at Southern Hills.
Thomas defeated fellow American Will Zalatoris by a shot in a three-hole mixture play-off after the pair tied on 5 below par and capitalised on a late implosion by Chile’s Mito Pereira, who double-bogeyed the 72nd gap.
A 3rd spherical of 74 had seemingly left Thomas with an excessive amount of floor to make up as he trailed Pereira by seven photographs, however a dialog with Mackay on Saturday night paid dividends.
“I’m absolutely assured in saying that I wouldn’t be standing right here if he didn’t give me that, wasn’t essentially a speech, however a chat, if you’ll,” mentioned Thomas, who gained the 2017 US PGA at Quail Hole.
“I simply wanted to let some steam out. I didn’t have to carry my frustration and anger residence with me. I didn’t want to depart the golf course in a detrimental state of mind.
“I performed fairly effectively for taking pictures 4 over and I felt like I’d performed horrible. And he (Mackay) was identical to, ‘dude, you’ve received to be cease being so laborious on your self. You’re in competition each single week we’re taking part in’.
“‘It’s a tough golf course, it’s a serious championship. You don’t need to be good. Simply don’t be laborious on your self. Simply type of let stuff occur, and all the things is trending in the precise path. So simply hold staying optimistic in order that good things can occur’.
“I left right here in an superior state of mind and there’s not very many occasions after taking pictures 4 over on Saturday of a serious I left in pretty much as good a state of mind as I’ve.”
Mackay has loads of expertise of profitable main titles, claiming 5 throughout his lengthy spell on the bag for Phil Mickelson, though he didn’t often get the normal caddie “trophy” to indicate for it.
As detailed within the new biography of Mickelson, which additionally accommodates the explosive feedback in regards to the PGA Tour and rival Saudi-backed league with which he stays linked, Mickelson would give the flag from the 18th gap to his grandfather, a former Pebble Seaside caddie.
Shortly after their cut up in 2017, Mickelson did ship Mackay the flags that they had gained collectively however, in accordance with the biography written by Alan Shipnuck, Mickelson had “autographed them in comically massive letters” and Mackay didn’t show them in his home.
Following Sunday’s play-off, Mackay was pictured amassing the flag at Southern Hills and was requested if he knew the place he would show it.
“I’ve received a spot in thoughts, however someplace that my pals can come round and see it,” he instructed Golfweek.
Thomas follows his good buddy Tiger Woods in profitable the US PGA at Southern Hills, Woods having claimed the thirteenth of his 15 main titles in Tulsa in 2007.
Woods withdrew following a 3rd spherical of 79 as he struggled with the ache in his proper leg following final 12 months’s automobile accident in Los Angeles, however spoke to Thomas on Saturday night.
“I requested how he was feeling, and he simply mentioned he was feeling horrible as a result of my title saved dropping on the leaderboard,” Thomas joked. “So I used to be like, ‘Thanks, good to speak to you too, I’ll discuss to you later’.
“I’m positive he in all probability will give me a tough time for shanking it (on the sixth gap within the ultimate spherical). I ought to have made the putt on 18. Shouldn’t have been in a play-off. I don’t know, he’ll all the time discover one thing to offer me grief about.”
Requested if it was tough to look at Woods card his highest ever rating within the US PGA, Thomas added: “I wouldn’t say how robust it was to see him wrestle. I imply, he made the reduce in his second main in a row, what, a 12 months and a half after being in a grotesque automobile accident, damaged leg?
“I don’t suppose you guys perceive how unbelievable that’s. He’s a freak of nature. It’s mind-blowing the issues that he can do along with his thoughts.
“I didn’t play throughout his prime, however him making the reduce these final two tournaments for the way, a few of the circumstances he was in final 12 months, it’s absurd. Like past absurd.”