Travelers Championship: Justin Thomas excited for 'underrated' event

Thomas-Justin-Getty-FTR
Justin Thomas (Getty Images)

Justin Thomas spent some time as the world’s top-ranked golfer this year, but the now world No. 2 is set to compete at this week’s Travelers Championship.

“This is a great tournament,” Thomas said Wednesday during his press conference. “I think this — so many events and all the events we play are incredible, but this is kind of one of those underrated ones that I think until people come to and play do they realize how great it is.

“The Travelers staff, everyone on the committee, they just treat us so well. The fans, they get an unbelievable fan showing here. The field is getting very impressive, which I think is a testimony to them, and I think like a lot of guys like Jordan (Spieth) and Rory (McIlroy), guys that never played here but once they came they realized how great of a tournament it is, and it’s one that I’ve really enjoyed, and it has an even more special place to me since I got an exemption as an amateur.”

Though Thomas already has two wins this season, he has just one top-10 finish since March. But overall, he’s finished in the top 25 in his last 16 worldwide starts.

“I’m feeling pretty good. I didn’t exactly finish the week how I would have liked to last week, but you know, I had a lot more positives than negatives,” Thomas said of his t-25 at the U.S. Open. “I felt like overall last week and had some stuff to do at the beginning of this week, so didn’t exactly get the normal preparation I would get in, but that’s what I have this afternoon for, and by this afternoon I feel like I’ll be in pretty good shape.”

Thomas said he’s here because he believes he can contend, not because he’s using it as a tune up before next month’s British Open.

“I’m here because I feel like I have a chance to win this golf tournament, and I feel like it’s a place that fits my eye well, and I do feel like I’ll win at some point in my career here,” Thomas said. “Hopefully multiple times, but hopefully once, as well. It’s a place that I like, and it’s — I’m not here thinking about the Open. I’m not playing this to get my game ready for the Open. It’s totally, completely different golf.

“But that being said, any time you have the opportunity to get into contention, you can learn from that and use it in future events. Hopefully I’ll be able to learn from a positive experience of some sort this week.”

TPC River Highlands is known as one of the shortest courses on Tour, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest. Thomas said the course can play completely different depending on the pin placements.

“It’s a course that you kind of — when you play it, like you go play on a day like today when you get the pins in the middle of the greens and there’s no pressure on anything, it’s a really easy golf course,” Thomas said. “The pins aren’t near the slopes, but once the tournament starts, they kind of start tucking the pins a little bit and you start seeing the contours of the greens kind of being used to your disadvantage.

“They’ve always done — at least when I played, a tremendous job of setting up the golf course to where it rewards good golf and you can get after it if you’re driving the ball well and have control of your irons, but if you’re not driving it well, you don’t get it in the right spots around the greens, it is tough to get up-and-down and it is hard to make pars. That’s something that I think is really rare nowadays, but it’s also really hard on a golf course design to have that done, so this place does a great job of that.”