Justin Thomas’ extreme diet? Here’s why he wouldn’t do it again

Justin Thomas speaks to the media at the Hero World Challenge on Tuesday in the Bahamas.

Justin Thomas speaks to the media at the Hero World Challenge on Tuesday in the Bahamas.

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Justin Thomas just wanted pizza. Like, really wanted pizza.

To improve his overall health, help his game and alleviate some occasional stomach issues while playing in sweltering temperatures, Thomas recently decided to go on a strict diet.

He worked with Dr. Ara Suppiah and came up with a plan, which was essentially six months with no dairy and a year without gluten.

How did it go? Here’s what he told our Sean Zak in March: “I mean, it sucks. I want a pizza so f—ing bad, you have no idea.”

Then, in May, to reporters at the Wells Fargo Championship: “I want a pizza like you cannot imagine. Like I would do some really messed up things for a pizza just doused in ranch.”

That week at the Wells Fargo, which was about three months into the diet, Thomas did admit he felt better and had more energy, but it was still tough.

“Obviously I’m hoping it works because it sucks not being able to eat anything good, but if I don’t try it, I won’t know if it works, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “Hoping that it’s something that’s going to help me a lot and just a little trial-and-error kind of thing.”

But the diet didn’t seem to help Thomas’ play. Last summer was one of the most frustrating of his career, as he missed the cut in three of four majors and failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

On Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge, Thomas was asked about his diet. He had important news to share: It didn’t last, and yes, he finally got his pizza.

“I think the six months was right when I was over in the U.K. for the Scottish and British, and I’m like I’m not going to start [dairy] back up in the middle of a tournament because I didn’t know how my body was going to react,” he said. “Literally, not having anything for six months, I thought there was a chance my body would freak out. After shooting about 400 the first two days at the Open Championship, when I got to Minnesota [for the next week’s 3M Open] I got a gluten-free pizza, like, on Monday or Tuesday and I swear I could have cried, it was so good. And honestly, I just slowly implemented dairy again the next two weeks and I didn’t feel any different, which I was shocked, to be honest. I was pleasantly surprised.”

Thomas said he called the doctor he worked with and told him he was having gluten again because reintroducing dairy didn’t seem to negatively affect him. Or, in other words, he was taking some advice from the 2023 Open champion.

“If you ask Brian Harman, basically if you just play like crap for a year, having to diet, then you just go back to it,” Thomas said. “That’s what he told me.”

Any parting thoughts, Justin?

“It wasn’t exactly during my best stretch of golf, so I would say if I had it over, I would not do it,” he said. “It’s one of those things, I don’t really give 50 percent too much. I feel like if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. I’m going to want to know how it is. If you guys hear of me doing that again, tell me to stop.”

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.