BMW Championship: Hurricane Irma evacuation changed Justin Thomas' off week
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Justin Thomas heads into this week's BMW Championship second in the FedEx Cup standings after a convincing win in Boston two weeks ago.
Unfortunately for Thomas, he did not get to enjoy the relaxing week off he had originally planned thanks to Hurricane Irma.
"It definitely wasn't your typical off week living in Jupiter, Florida," Thomas said Wednesday during his news conference. "I planned on, you know, kind of getting a day or two of rest and getting back into it Wednesday, Thursday and I was actually going to go to Chicago on Friday anyway and play some golf.
"That turned into a quick two days of scrambling, trying to get stuff together and get stuff ready around the house and packed to evacuate for the hurricane. It was a lot different off week than I had planned or had in my mind coming from Boston, but I got as much rest as I could. I played a little bit of golf, not a bunch, but I've been practicing hard the last couple of days to try to play well this week."
While Thomas was affected by the hurricane, he pointed out that he did not suffer through the worst of the damage.
"I probably over-exaggerated in terms of having to do a lot," he said. "More just getting-ready-to-leave sort of stuff because traveling for three weeks, I get stressed when I have to pack for one week let alone 3 1/2 weeks, so it was just making sure you have the stuff packed, having to get dry cleaned, do laundry, get stuff around the house and go make sure this car is in the garage and make sure stuff outside, the outdoor furniture is inside.
"I had some valuables that I actually just took to (Rickie Fowler's) house down the street because he has a safe that's kind of — that's built in the ground and is a little more sturdy than I may have and took the (PGA Championship's) Wanamaker (Trophy), took some watches and some other valuables and put them in there because I figured at least I have those if everything goes."
Now that golf is back on his mind, Thomas is looking forward to playing Conway Farms Golf Club.
"It's a fun course. It's playing a lot different right now because it was very soft two years ago," Thomas said. "So it was just kind of, you know, see-pin, hit-pin sort of thing. It's short so you can have a lot of birdie looks and a lot of birdie chances if you're driving it well and just like to see how low you can go."
Every tournament presents a different challenge for the world's best players. Sometimes, like the U.S. Open, they have to prepare to play safe and finish around even par. But events like this, where the scoring is lower, also forces players to adjust. Thomas just tries to play the course, not to a certain score.
"I'm prepared for the golf course more than I do the scores," he said. "You very rarely see a golf course that's short like this with high scores because it's shorter. I'm doing a lot of work from like 80 to 125 yards and then 150 to 175 yards because that's just — that's where I'll have a lot of approach shots."
Thomas often plays his practice rounds with players he is friendly with off the course. He said that not only is that a good way for him to relax a bit, it also allows him to learn some things others may do better.
"There's been times where I've played with Phil (Mickelson), with (Jason Dufner), with Rickie, with Jordan (Spieth) where they are a little bit better at a shot than I am and I'm curious. I want to get better at it," Thomas said. "I'll ask them and maybe watch me hit some shots or vice versa.
"For the most part we're kind of hitting shots and trying to get a feel for how it's going to come out and stuff like that."
Thomas will play the first two rounds this week alongside Dustin Johnson and Spieth.