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A Round With Justin Thomas

February 18, 2017

It’s early so we’re just drinking water this morning—but I know you’d prefer it to be a Coors Light.

I do enjoy Coors Light. It’s refreshing after a day on the golf course.

Your social media posts make it seem like you’re out having more fun than other pros.

I like to have fun. I realize I’m 23, and although I take my time off the course very seriously—I need to get in the best state to perform my best—I also need to enjoy my off time and be relaxed.

You’re buddies with other young stars, like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, but also with older guys, like Jason Dufner. Is Jason a mentor of yours?

Duf is always jabbing at me. I don’t think I could have a real serious conversation with him about [helping my game], but he’s great.

When you’re friends with a Tour pro, is it harder or easier to play well when you’re paired together in a tournament?

It’s weird. I haven’t played as well [when paired] with some of my best friends. I don’t know if it’s because I lose focus, but I’ve at least recognized it, so I can hopefully change that. But it’s enjoyable for sure.

Anyone on Tour with you who’s unexpectedly fun?

Smylie Kaufman was a big hit [on our spring break trip with Spieth and Fowler last year]. He became quite the celebrity after that week. Everywhere I go, people ask me where Smylie is. I’m like, “I don’t know where he is. I’m just worried about me right now. I’m in the middle of a round.” [Laughs] But he’s a great dude. I’ve been a good friend of his for awhile, and I’m just happy everyone could see the true side of Smylie.

You live in South Florida, like a lot of Tour pros. What’s life like during an off week?

During an off week, I can sit on the couch the entire day and watch TV, if I just want to catch up on rest. But we’ll go out on the boat some afternoons, take the jet skis out, or maybe hang by the pool and try to even out our awful tan lines. They’re pretty atrocious.

You won as a rookie in 2015 and have grabbed three more victories—and you also fired a 59 at the Sony Open in January. What have you learned about playing well at an elite level?

Patience and managing your time is very, very important. I’m now to the point where I understand what’s going to be best for my body and when I perform my best. It’s a long year. I’m going to have stretches where I don’t perform as well as I’d like, and I’m going to have stretches where I do well. And the goal is to make those stretches where I do well last a lot longer than the ones when I’m not playing well. But you just never know. It’s a process. One week can, boom, change your life.