Justin Thomas has officially entered the great distance arms race that’s taking over professional golf.
Following the trail blazed by Bryson DeChambeau, Thomas is ready to chase distance like many of his contemporaries. During his pre-tournament presser at the CJ Cup, he detailed his plan to add distance to keep up with the boom sweeping over the game.
“I just want some more speed,” Thomas said. “I feel like I’ve been good at having another gear, another 5 or 10 yards if I need it — but I don’t necessarily have that other 20.”
But even as he chases a few extra yards off the tee, there won’t be any massive weight gains in Thomas’ future. With a slender 5-foot-10-inch frame, he simply doesn’t have the correct body type to pursue a Bryson bulk up. “I’m going to look like a beach ball if I put on 40 pounds,” he said. But there are other ways Thomas can add distance.
“I just need to do some stuff for my lower body, probably get that a little stronger and kind of continue to maintain the flexibility of my hip, my hip mobility, stuff like that while putting on a little bit of strength,” Thomas said. “I’m not far off. It’s really about messing with some different stuff and different training and explosiveness to be able to pick up something.”
With an average drive of just over 304 yards last season — ranking him 34th on Tour — Thomas is no slouch in the distance department. He detailed that during the Tour’s 10-week stoppage during the spring, he was able to maintain a strict workout regimen that got him into excellent shape. But once golf returned, it was difficult to maintain the weight he’d packed on during the stoppage.
“Once we came back out, we’re going to 90, 95-degree weeks and it’s humid and we’re walking six, seven, eight miles a day,” Thomas said. “I think when I got back from the Tour Championship, I had lost like 13 or 14 pounds from when we started at Colonial. It’s just hard to maintain that routine and all that muscle.”
But even as Thomas chases more distance, he won’t do it at the expense of his health. While the long ball might be important, staying healthy enough to compete at the highest level each week is paramount.
“The absolute No. 1 thing is I’m continuing to stay injury free,” he said. “I’m continuing to progress in a good direction in terms of staying healthy and staying fit, but if I can do that while incorporating some more speed, then that’s big.”