2012 Haskins Award Winner Justin Thomas is a rising sophomore and a member of the Men’s Golf Team at the University of Alabama. Thomas received a sponsor’s exemption into The Greenbrier Classic as part of winning golf’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
He is having a great week in West Virginia and one of the things that you hope for as a college golfer is to be able to have the chance to play events on the PGA TOUR so he is very appreciative that The Greenbrier Classic has given him an exemption into the field.
The biggest adjustment that he has had to make in college is improving his time management. When you combine the time required for classes as well as tournament preparation and competition, it does not leave time for much else and it also requires him to manage his time effectively if he wants to be able to be successful in both places. In college, you cannot play golf if you are not successful in the classroom so he is very aware of the importance of keeping good grades so he can have a chance to keep a good golf game.
When asked about the pressure of playing on the PGA TOUR, he said that he was already a little bit nervous but he knows that he will be very nervous when he is on the first tee Thursday afternoon. However, he loves the feeling of being nervous and he said that he should feel nervous in those situations. If he was not nervous, he would wonder if he should even be playing at all.
It is hard to say what he will ultimately end up doing when it comes to either staying in college for four years or turning pro early but he feels that this week will be a good indicator of where he is in terms of being ready. While he is certainly very excited about the idea of turning pro one day, he still has a lot to accomplish as an amateur. His goals as an amateur include winning the U.S. Amateur and representing the United States on a Walker Cup team.
When he played in the Wyndham Championship a couple of years ago, he had the chance to meet a lot of PGA TOUR players so this week he is a lot more familiar and a lot more comfortable with the surroundings of a PGA TOUR event. He is not as nervous as he was in Greensboro a few years ago and it feels great to be able to play practice rounds with people like Kenny Perry and feel more relaxed.