Justin Thomas comes to J.B. Holmes’s defense: ‘I would do the same thing.’

February 1, 2018

Justin Thomas has chosen a side in the debate over slow play that erupted on social media after J.B. Holmes took a reported four minutes and 10 seconds to hit his second shot on 18 in the last round at the Farmers Insurance Open. Thomas publicly defended Holmes, saying he would have done the same thing if he were in that position.

If you put me in 18 fairway, and I need an eagle to win the golf tournament or to have a chance to win the golf tournament, I mean, I knew the exact position he was in, and I would do the same thing,” Thomas told reporters at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, justifying Holmes’s behavior. He said that he hated to see Holmes being “ridiculed” for what he viewed as normal: “When you’re trying to win a golf tournament, this sport is very much about committing and 100 percent being all in on what you’re doing. I honestly applaud him for waiting and making the decision until he was ready, because he was just trying to win the tournament.”

For his part, Holmes said on Monday that he hadn’t realized how much time he was taking and that he never meant to affect Alex Noren’s chances. “If it bothered Alex, he could have said something and he could have hit,” Holmes said. “If I messed him up, I apologize. He still made a good swing. He smoked it. I don’t understand what the big hoopla is all about. I was just trying to give myself the best chance to win the tournament.”

In the end, Jason Day claimed the victory in a playoff over Noren and Ryan Palmer, with Holmes coming in fourth. But the debate over slow play on Tour continues.