Justin Thomas has a need for speed and a plan to obtain it

Like Maverick and Goose in the 1980s classic film Top Gun, Justin Thomas says he has a need for speed. “I just want some more (...)

Justin Thomas has a need for speed and a plan to obtain it

Like Maverick and Goose in the 1980s classic film Top Gun, Justin Thomas says he has a need for speed.

“I just want some more speed,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference ahead of the CJ Cup in Las Vegas. “I feel like I’ve been good at having another gear, another 5 or 10 yards if I need it, but I don’t necessarily have that other 20.”

Thomas, 27, averaged 304 yards off the tee last season, good for 34th on Tour, so length isn’t necessarily a concern for him, but it just goes to show how distance is king at golf’s highest level.

How Thomas chases it may differ from that of Bryson DeChambeau who has gone undergone a physical transformation over the past year, but they are both in search of the same thing.

“I’m not going to put on 40 pounds, I don’t have the height to do that,” Thomas said. “I’m going to look like a beach ball if I put on 40 pounds. I can get stronger in different parts of my body that can help me hit it farther and gain some distance, but I hit it plenty far enough to win tournaments and do well.”

Justin Thomas poses with the trophy after winning the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges at the Club at Nine Bridges on October 20, 2019 in Jeju, South Korea. (Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Instead, Thomas is emphasizing an exercise routine focused on his lower body while trying to maintain flexibility and mobility in his hips.

“I’m not far off. It’s really about messing with some different stuff and different training and explosiveness to be able to pick up something,” he said. “There’s different ways to do it. I mean, the absolute No. 1 thing is I’m continuing to stay injury free and I’m continuing to progress in a good direction in terms of staying healthy and staying fit. But if I can do that while incorporating some more speed, then that’s big.”

Thomas said he got into the best shape of his life during the Tour’s three-month suspension of play when he was able to workout five times a week, lifting heavier weights, and getting regular treatment from his physical therapist. When the Tour season resumed in June, he found it challenging to maintain that same routine.

CJ Cup: Fantasy rankings | Odds | Check out Shadow Creek

“I was as strong as I’ve ever been,” he said. “Once we came back out, we’re going to 90, 95-degree weeks and it’s humid and we’re walking six, seven, eight miles a day. I think when I got back from the Tour Championship I had lost like 13 or 14 pounds from when we started at Colonial. It’s just hard to maintain that routine and all that muscle.”

“It was the lowest I’ve been in a while,” Thomas said of his weight. “I was at 151 when I got back from Atlanta. It was a tough scene.”

Thomas, a two-time CJ Cup champion, returns to defend after shooting 20-under 268 at Nine Bridges Golf Club at Jeju Island in South Korea. But due to the global pandemic, he makes his defense at Shadow Creek Golf Club in Las Vegas.

“I can’t imagine being much farther apart,” Thomas said. “It has the same vibes and seeing the same people involved with the tournament. I even had some Korean barbecue for lunch yesterday, which was still incredible.”

Despite the new venue, Thomas brings a bit of experience to the table. He recalled missing the cut at the 2014 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and playing Shadow Creek the next day. And little did he know at the time that the CJ Cup would be moved here, but in February, ahead of the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, he celebrated his mom’s 60th birthday in Las Vegas and prepped for the tournament at Shadow Creek. That could come in handy, though Thomas traditionally hasn’t needed much help during the fall portion of the schedule.

Four of his 13 wins on Tour have come in the fall; no other player has more than two wins during the fall since the Tour went to a wraparound season in 2013-14. Asked to explain his early-season success, Thomas shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m not sure, but I’m happy the Masters is in the fall this year, so hopefully that will add something, some good vibes.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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Brooks Koepka finally healthy for his latest PGA Tour return at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek

NORTH LAS VEGAS – Win. That’s what Brooks Koepka expects to do this week in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek despite playing for the first (...)

Brooks Koepka finally healthy for his latest PGA Tour return at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek

NORTH LAS VEGAS – Win.

That’s what Brooks Koepka expects to do this week in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek despite playing for the first time in two months and having not won since the summer of 2019. The four-time major winner and former world No. 1 – who has dropped to No. 11 – is actually returning to the game after an extended break for the third time this year as he’s battled knee and hip injuries and settled at home for 13 weeks due to the COVID-19 induced break in the season.

“I’ve got my body squared away, feels a lot better. I didn’t know how bad I felt until I actually feel good. It’s nice to be back,” Koepka said Tuesday at Shadow Creek Golf Course ahead of Thursday’s start of the CJ Cup, which has been relocated from South Korea due to COVID-19.

In September of 2019, Koepka underwent a stem-cell procedure on his left knee to repair a partially torn patella tendon. Less than two months later, however, he slipped on wet concrete in the CJ Cup in South Korea and re-tore the ligament, which forced him to take three months off.

CJ Cup: Fantasy rankings | Odds | Check out Shadow Creek

The injury, however, led to other ailments, specifically with his left hip. In the PGA Championship in August, Koepka partially tore his labrum in his left hip. He contended before tying for 29th, then missed the cut the following week in the Wyndham Championship.

He’s been rehabbing ever since.

“A million times better,” he said about his health compared to earlier this year. “I really had no idea how bad I felt through the whole year. Obviously Memorial was kind of its peak of when it was its worst, and then at the PGA it didn’t feel great.

“I did another round of (platelet rich plasma therapy) about three weeks ago on my knee and then I had a shot in my hip at Boston.”

That would be a cortisone shot as he withdrew from the Northern Trust. Koepka missed the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the U.S. Open.

“Everybody just said rest was the best thing, so that’s why I pulled out (of the Northern Trust). I haven’t felt a thing since,” he said. “If cortisone doesn’t work and it actually gets worse, it will be surgery and you’re out for nine months.

“But everything feels good. We’re doing all of the strengthening in all of the right places. It’s the best I’ve truly felt in so long, I didn’t realize last year how limited I was from swinging. I really do feel great right now.”

Those limitations, he said, were the reason he played “like crap.” But there no longer are any limitations and Koepka is ready to become Koepka again. He started hitting golf balls 10 days ago and said everything is A-OK.

“I know physically I’ll be able to play four rounds, walk four rounds and have no issue with it,” said Koepka, 30, who has seven PGA Tour titles. “From there, it’s just go out and win. It’s just nice to get back to what I’m supposed to do, my job.

“I’ve missed it.”

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Source : Golf Week More   

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