Alabama football coach Nick Saban has a 24-hour rule to celebrate his successes or mourn his defeats.
Notable alum Justin Thomas seems to have taken a similar approach.
Thomas is back to work this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, just a few days after he authored a stirring comeback to win the PGA Championship. It was his first major title in nearly five years, and the relief was apparent afterward as he bubbled up with emotion.
Speaking to the media Wednesday at Colonial, Thomas was asked about the moment before the trophy presentation when he crouched on the 18th green and covered his face with his hat.
“I feel like I’ve been playing some of the best golf of my career the last year,” he said, “and I have literally had nothing to show for it – had no wins – and it was just like, Man, it’s hard to win out here, and you just don’t know when it’s going to happen again.
“For it to happen at the biggest stage, at a major, to win my second one, my family there, I was just kind of taking it in and couldn’t believe that it happened.”
Thomas’ furious final-day comeback – he was eight shots back with 10 holes to play – left him drained in the aftermath. He said he didn’t return to the house until late Sunday night and traveled to Fort Worth on Monday morning. He got in a good sweat at the on-site practice facility, then took it easy the rest of the day. It was more of the same on Tuesday, with just a light range session and a few practice holes. He played only a nine-hole pro-am on Wednesday.
“It’s just putting it behind me,” he said of his approach this week. “Obviously, I want to enjoy it, and I don’t want to just act like it didn’t happen, because it did, but at the same time I have a week off next week to just enjoy it and have some good times with my family and friends if we choose to.
“I have a golf tournament this week, and I’m just trying to perform and play as well as I possibly can, and hopefully give us something else to celebrate.”
Because of the quick turnaround, there hasn’t been much time for self-reflection, but Thomas said he learned a valuable lesson with how the PGA turned out.
“If I was looking at leaderboards, I probably would not have thought I even had a chance to win,” he said. “It’s a huge learning lesson for me: You’ve got to play golf. Those majors and in golf tournaments, anything can happen. I just kind of kept plugging along, and somehow it happened.”
Thomas tees off at 9:26 a.m. ET Thursday alongside world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and defending champion Jason Kokrak.