Justin Thomas to channel his ‘inner Brooks Koepka’ at US Open

Thomas pays tribute to compatriot’s nerve as he retained US PGA at Bethpage Black

Justin Thomas has paid tribute to the way Brooks Koepka closed out victory in the US Open. Photograph: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty

Justin Thomas has paid tribute to the way Brooks Koepka closed out victory in the US Open. Photograph: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty

 

Justin Thomas did not really want to say it, but admits he will channel his “inner Brooks Koepka” as he aims to emulate his compatriot’s amazing recent run in major championships.

Koepka won his first major title in the 2017 US Open and Thomas followed suit two months later in the US PGA Championship, but since then Koepka has won half of all majors contested and is seeking a third straight US Open title at Pebble Beach this week.

A wrist injury meant Thomas had to watch on television as Koepka successfully defended his title in last month’s US PGA at Bethpage, where he held off a spirited challenge from Dustin Johnson after taking a record seven-shot lead into the final round.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot watching Brooks at the PGA,” said Thomas, who was 20th in the Canadian Open on Sunday in his second event back following his injury.

“Everybody knows he’s very cool, calm, collected. He’s got one of the best swaggers out here, especially when he’s playing well. He’s obviously very confident.

And he’s been the most accomplished player the last two years or whatever it might be, so that’s why he’s number one in the world.

“I promise I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back, but I have started a Sunday with a seven-shot lead and it’s still to this day the most nervous I’ve been teeing off.

“No offence, but all I heard from you guys (in the media) is ‘No-one has ever blown a seven-shot lead in the history of the PGA Tour on Sunday’. I think every question I got was led with that.

“And it was tough for me at the Sony Open so I can’t imagine how it was at the PGA Championship, Bethpage Black, best field in golf, tough conditions.

“Watching how he handled that and the adversity that was thrown at him and just the shots that he hit when he needed to — because I know that I can get a little bit up and down with my emotions — I just felt like he handled that really well.

“So maybe if I got in that scenario, then I could, I hate to say channel my inner BK to boost his ego, but to definitely stress some of those characteristics is good.”

Thomas will certainly not be emulating one aspect of Koepka’s approach however, namely posing in a purple thong as Koepka did alongside his similarly-attired girlfriend Jena Sims on holiday earlier this year.

“I never want to hang out with or see that Brooks,” Thomas joked. “I never want to be around that Brooks. He can do that in his own group and own time.“I never want to see the thong Brooks ever. Thanks for putting that image back in my head.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.