CHARLOTTE, N.C. – En route to a tie for 13th in last week’s Valspar Championship, world No. 2 Justin Thomas had most of his game spot on.
He ranked first in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, first in Strokes Gained: Approach to the Green, and first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
As for his putting, he ranked 67th in strokes gained.
His frustration on the greens reached a crescendo after Saturday’s third round when he said, “If I’m putting well this week, I’m winning this tournament without question.” While he had his best putting day in the final round – he needed just 26 putts – he had 117 putts for the week. The longest he made all week was 14 feet.
Thomas, the reigning Players champion, didn’t take out his disappointment by breaking his flat stick. Nor did he banish it to the trunk and find a new one. He didn’t go changing his grip, either.
Instead, he chalked up tournament as being one of those weeks where no matter what he did, no matter how good his stroke was, no matter how good the putts looked, they just would not fall.
“It wasn’t like something was really that off,” Thomas said Wednesday at Quail Hollow Club, home to the Wells Fargo Championship. “I hit a lot of really, really good putts, a lot of quality putts. Everything fundamentally was pretty good, just the ball wasn’t going in.
“You have weeks like that, but obviously it doesn’t get that bad very often and hopefully not ever. But it was just one of those weeks where I felt like I was stroking it well, I felt good over the putter on Thursday and Friday and just nothing went in.”
With his putter not cooperating heading into the weekend, Thomas fell into some old tendencies that did nothing to improve the situation.
“I was opening the putting face too much going back and then I have a tendency to drag it a little bit or have a hard time timing it up right to get the clubface square, putter face square,” he said. “That was something I was fighting a little bit maybe over the course of the week in terms of some misses, but overall as a whole I felt like they’re very difficult greens to read.
“You have a lot of grain that kind of goes opposite of the slopes and a lot of subtle ridges. Clearly Sam Burns (the winner) didn’t feel that way, and many others, but I felt like I was putting the ball actually pretty well, just nothing was going in.”
Thomas put in some extra work on the practice putting green on Tuesday and Wednesday and feels good heading in the first round. And he certainly fancies the track this week – he won the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
“I have a lot of great memories,” said Thomas, who tied for seventh in the Wells Fargo Championship in 2015, missed the cut in 2016 and finished in a tie for 21st in 2018. “I love Charlotte, I love the fans here, I love the golf course. It’s a fun atmosphere and it’s a very good golf course, so it should be a good week.”
That is, if the putter is behaving, it should be.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/05/pga-tour-justin-thomas-putting-disappointment-quail-hollow/