Justin Thomas: “You Don’t Need Distance”

The 13-time PGA Tour winner says it makes him cringe when people talk about rolling the ball back

Justin Thomas: "You Don't Need Distance"
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 13-time PGA Tour winner says it makes him cringe when people talk about rolling the ball back

Justin Thomas: "You Don't Need Distance"

Justin Thomas says that you don't need distance and it makes him cringe when people say that the golf ball needs to be rolled back.

The former World No.1 was asked about distance as he is one of four players to have won multiple times this year on the PGA Tour and three of them are outside of the top 100 in driving distance.

Two-time PGA Tour winners this season Webb Simpson (T108th), Collin Morikawa (112th) and Brendon Todd (205th) are all well down on the driving distance list with Thomas (60th) slightly further up.

A number of high-profile golfers including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Colin Montgomerie have all called for bifurcation but Thomas says the idea makes him cringe.

"I think the fact that three guys have won multiple times this year being outside the top hundred in distance just proves yet again that you don't need distance," Justin Thomas said ahead of this week's Northern Trust.

"Yeah, it's helpful, but it makes me cringe and it really bothers me when whoever says that, you know, the golf ball or everything needs to be rolled back because there's plenty of people that are still performing well that don't hit it as far.

"I mean, Brendon Todd has his game so well managed and knows exactly what to do.

"I mean, I have more ball speed maybe with a 5-wood than he does a driver, and that's extremely impressive, and that's why he's on the Tour and one of best players in the world and this year.

"That's why it is what it is. Length is an advantage. But in terms of for me looking at it, I dialed back in distance with a driver and a shaft just to hit a couple more fairways around.

"I carry it probably five, eight yards shorter than I did maybe one or two years ago, but I have a little bit more spin so I can control my ball flight a little bit more and I'm just trying to play from the fairway more because I feel with my iron game, if I get in the fairway, I can win more tournaments.

"Yeah, it is quite an interesting stat. I loved it when I saw it because that just kind of proves yet again that length is not the answer. It's just helpful. Still got to get the ball in the hole."

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5