Less than 48 hours after Justin Thomas won his first major, the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., he spoke one-on-one with Golfweek’s David Dusek about his equipment.
JUSTIN THOMAS: What’s going on, David?
DAVID DUSEK: What’s going on with me? You’re the guy that just won the Wanamaker Trophy. How are you doing?
JT: I’ve definitely been worse
DD: I bet. Congratulations on your win. What was the first thing you drank from the Wanamaker Trophy?
JT: I haven’t drank anything out of it yet. The thing is, it really holds a lot of liquid. So if you are drinking something out of it, it needs to be a lot of something. I haven’t really been in a mood to do that. I’ve been so tired. I’m more worried about catching up on rest than anything. I had a few drinks at dinner last night, but it was very, very tame. I’m just trying to sleep as much as I can.
DD: I noticed that you switched into the new Titleist 718 MB irons (5-9). What made you decide to change midseason and not wait until after the Presidents Cup?
JT: I’ve never been one that has had a hard time changing, especially with Titleist. There is a reason that it is going to be better, and they were great. I hit some shots with them and thought the flight on them was great, they looked great and were very similar to the irons that I already used in terms of feel, so that was not a big change for me. It was really a very easy transition; about a 30- to 45-minute session on the range hitting balls. The numbers on TrackMan were good and they were going the right distances, so why not?
DD: You played at the U.S. Open with a Titleist T-MB 2-iron, a CB 4-iron and your MBs. Last week the 2-iron came out and a 915Fd 5-wood went in. How many clubs do you bring to tournaments, and how do you decide what goes in and what comes out?
JT: I always travel with a backup driver and two backup putters. I also have an extra club, being either a 2-iron or a 5-wood. Sometimes I carry an extra lob wedge with a different bounce, just in case the bunkers or the ground is really firm chipping-wise, so typically I have about 20 clubs in (my travel bag). It’s not exactly a fun thing to carry when you are traveling.
I usually know going into the tournament what kind of course it is and have an idea whether I’ll use a 2-iron or a 5-wood. A place like Memorial, Phoenix or Augusta National will be a place where I’ll use a 5-wood. I won’t really need to hit a lot of 2-irons off the tees, and the greens are usually firm. Into the par 5s, there’s a pretty good chance that I’m going to hit a 5-wood into at least one of them. I’ll need some height coming into those greens, which is why I’ll need the 5-wood, whereas at Sony or TPC Sawgrass, the ability to hit a 2-iron off the tee and get something on the ground after flying 240 to 250, and rolling out to 270 to 300, is a good thing to have.
DD: You also put on a new SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour putter grip last week. What was the reason for that change, and how much difference did you feel?
JUSTIN THOMAS: That turned out to be a nice change. I had picked up some guys’ SuperStrokes before, and I had liked the feeling of them. I don’t like the big ones or the really flat ones up top, but mine is basically a normal grip, just a little bit bigger.
I decided to throw one on one of my backups so that I could go back and forth with it. It just felt good in my hands. I feel like I can get my hands into the same spot on the putter each time. That’s huge for consistency. It felt good and I really putted nicely with it last week.
DD: Your wedge setup is unique from a loft perspective, and you use two different types. Your pitching wedge and lob wedge are Vokey Design SM6, but then a SM5 for your gap and sand wedges. What is the difference and why the unique setup?
JT: You know, the different types of wedges, I honestly didn’t know that until you just said that (laughs), so that tells you how much attention I pay to what I’m using. I don’t care what I use as long as it works and it’s producing what I want it to produce. I work hard with (Bob) Vokey and Aaron Dill to get the right bounces, lofts and lies. But in terms of that, I couldn’t tell you. I use what they say is best for me.
In terms of the lofts, I do have some weird lofts. I’ve used four wedges since college. Being a long hitter, honestly, I think it’s stupid to not use four wedges as often as I use them. Having a couple of extra numbers that I can hit with a wedge as opposed to carrying a 3- or a 4-iron is huge. I go 47.5, 52.5, 57 and then 60.5.
The half degrees just happened over time because I did not check my lofts over about a month and a half span and then went to check them one day. They were a little bit weak, so I had them changed back. But then I started hitting my wedges terribly and hitting all my wedges way too far, so I told them to keep the lofts where they were before. So that’s how they got there.
DD: Aaron Dill stamped RADAR into your wedges. Is that still on there, and what was the meaning of it?
JT: He does, yeah. I literally have gotten that on my wedges since I first went out to Titleist when I was about 9 or so. I was just hitting chips and bunker shots around the green, and I think I made a couple and was hitting it really close, and the guy that I was working with at the time, Phillip James, who was the guy us young guys dealt with, was like, ‘Man, you’ve got radar out here hitting it so close to the hole.’ It kinda stuck, and he refused to send me wedges unless it had RADAR on there. I remember one time I asked him about switching it up and he said no, if you’re getting a wedge from me, it has RADAR on it. I didn’t really have a choice, it was our joke and it’s just kind of stuck.