JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Justin Thomas was back home in Louisville, Kentucky, last week when he had his eyes opened by, of all people, a 15-year-old stranger.
“You’re going to laugh at me,” smiled Thomas after a first-round 63 at The Northern Trust left him tied for the lead with Jon Rahm.
Thomas was in Kentucky to host his AJGA event when he wandered out onto the course to visit with one of his father’s golf students. One of the players she was practicing with approached Thomas.
“He was using the putter, pretty much my putter that Scotty Cameron, the line that we kind of came out with, and he was like, you know, when are you going to start using it again?” Thomas explained. “I found myself defending myself to this 15-year-old.”
Thomas switched from his usual putter, which he affectionately calls “Baby,” to a slightly different model at the U.S. Open in June, and he's had mixed results on the greens lately. But it was the teenager’s pointed questions that convinced Thomas to switch back to “Baby” this week.
“I was like why am I not using this thing? I've had a lot of success,” he said. “It's not like I'm making a lot of putts with what I have. I'm like the kid's got a point. When I brought it out, it looked good, it felt good. Again, a lot of familiar feelings with it.”
Those feelings added up to an 8-under opening round that included just 26 putts and left Thomas eighth in the field in strokes-gained: putting.