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Desperate for fans to be allowed to return to top-level sport? Chances are you’re not as desperate as Justin Thomas. 

The world No.3 can’t wait for spectators to return to golf’s biggest events after saying that last month’s US PGA Championship, played behind closed doors at TPC Harding Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “didn’t feel anything remotely close to a major”

Thomas was speaking to the media ahead of this week’s US Open at Winged Foot in New York, the second men’s major of this coronavirus-impacted season.

“It is a shame because Harding and here are just two terrific major championship venues, especially here in New York with the very passionate fans that they have here,” said the major champion. 

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“To not be able to experience that takes away a lot of a championship, let alone a US Open. Especially coming down the last nine and on Sunday, it’s going to, I think, have a big impact. 

“At least I know I miss them, and I wish they could have been out here, but yeah, it’s night and day different.

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Thomas makes his sixth career start in the US Open this week and, based on what he has seen so far, reckons that Winged Foot is probably the hardest course he has ever played. 

• English star our of US Open after COVID test

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“You just have to embrace it, otherwise it’s going to eat you alive,” he said. “Especially a place like this. You’re going to make a lot of bogeys, you’re going to be put in some uncomfortable places, and you as a person are going to feel uncomfortable. It’s really just how can you manage that.

“But that being said, I’m not going into it scared. I can’t play tentative. I can’t only try to make pars. If I have a scoring club, I need to try to make a birdie. But then if I get in trouble, I just need to get out.

“So I think the most important thing is try to take each hole for what it is and not make this place any bigger than it is because it’s already big.”


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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