SAN DIEGO (REUTERS) – Justin Thomas has weighed in on the debate over whether some courses on the PGA Tour are challenging enough, saying weather conditions are the biggest factor in scoring, not decisions made by tournament officials.
World No. 1 Jon Rahm raised eyebrows last week when he lambasted the set-up at the La Quinta Country Club in California for turning the American Express into what he called a “putting contest” in an expletive-laden rant that was caught on video.
The Spaniard doubled down on Tuesday (Jan 25), saying that he does not appreciate any course where missing the fairway “means absolutely nothing”.
Five players finished 20 under par or better at the American Express and three players were 32 under or better at Kapalua in Hawaii earlier this month.
“It’s frustrating to me because people were going crazy about Kapalua and they’re saying the golf course set-up is so easy,” Thomas told reporters ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which begins on Wednesday.
“Look, I don’t know how many times I have to say it but if you give us soft greens and no wind, we are going to shoot nothing.”
Mother Nature ultimately has the final say in how challenging a course proves to be, he added.
“If we get a little wind one day and the greens get even firmer and faster, the scores are going to be higher,” he said.
“If we get some rain and they soften up and there’s no wind, it’s going to be lower, that’s just the way that it is.
“It’s not like the Tour’s setting up the course every day saying, ‘We want 18 under to win this week.'”
The former world No. 1 said with a laugh that while he liked to think he would prefer a harder golf course, he had had a lot of success on the easier ones.
“If my life depended on it and I had to win a golf tournament, I’d probably choose TPC Kuala Lumpur, but other than that, it is what it is and you have to make the best out of wherever you are,” he said.
Thomas, Rahm and former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson will play together for the first two rounds at Torrey Pines.