Rickie and Rory discuss JT: "Nowhere close to what I went through"

Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy have both offered their thoughts about Justin Thomas after the American missed another major at the 2023 Open Championship. 

Ben Smith's picture
Sat, 22 Jul 2023
Rickie and Rory discuss JT: "Nowhere close to what I went through"

Rickie Fowler knows what it's like to struggle on the golf course. 

And now his good buddy Justin Thomas is going through the same after a disastrous performance at the 2023 Open Championship

Thomas' brutal major season came to an abrupt end on Friday, 21 July at Royal Liverpool, missing the cut by as many as seven strokes. 

It means he has now missed cuts at the 87th Masters and the U.S. Open. He was a non-factor as he attempted to defend the PGA Championship.

"I can hit shots like a World No. 1 and then I make a nine," Thomas told reporters at Hoylake, discussing why things have gone south. 

Is his Ryder Cup now in doubt? Zach Johnson said he was concerned with his form but did hint that a spot does beckon for JT regardless.

To be brutally honest, it has been bad. His first round 82 here at this Open was a career-worst in a major. Thomas also carded an 81 at Los Angeles Country Club. 

So what gives? Fowler had some thoughts after he climbed the leaderboard on the third day of the 151st Open Championship. 

Fowler said JT is 'nowhere close' to what he went through. Fowler's lowest point likely came when he dropped outside the top 150 players in the world last summer. 

He's back up to 22 - boosted by a first PGA Tour win in five years a few weeks ago in Detroit - and has his sights set on trying to edge his way back into the top-10. 

Fowler looks certain to be heading to the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club later this year. 

"Everyone goes through it at some point," said Fowler, adding: 

"I don't expect to see him going through it for very long at all. I have a lot of belief in him and his game.
"I know he's planning to play the next two weeks, and I would expect to see him play quite well these next two weeks. He's someone that's obviously very tough on himself, works very hard.
He's got plenty of people around him that are always there to help out, guys to lean on, myself, Jordan, and plenty of others.
"Like I said, at the same time, I'm not too worried about him.
"That's golf. There's not one player in the world that hasn't. But he's got the right people around him, and he's got the right work ethic to get himself out of it."

What others have said about Justin Thomas:

Rory McIlroy

"JT will be just okay. JT is one of the most talented guys out here. He shot 69 at TPC a couple years ago in like 40 mile-an-hour winds, and I always remind him of it, but I always go back to that, and if JT can put that sort of display on in those conditions, yeah, we all go through bad patches." 

Zach Johnson

"Well, as a friend and roommate, I'm concerned just because he's my buddy and I know what he's capable of and that sort of thing.
"Sometimes the scorecard can be misleading. I hope he can find some form."

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Fowler said that there's still enough time (70 days before the Ryder Cup) to turn things around. 

He continued:

"He's someone that he -- I wouldn't say turns into a different person, but he kind of does in a team event. He loves that atmosphere.
"When we've played together as partners, I kind of let him be in control as far as giving putts and stuff like that. I'm kind of the silent guy off to the side.
"He's a bit more of the bulldog and wants to go right into the middle of the fight. He loves the setting, the kind of atmosphere and everything."

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