Paul Azinger used it as a teaching lesson: if Justin Thomas isn’t throwing clubs after hitting shots this bad, weekend hackers shouldn’t be chucking irons after their shanks.
Azinger, the analyst for Golf Channel, was referring to Thomas’ chunked tee shot on the 4th hole at Quail Hollow, during the opening day of the Presidents Cup on Thursday.
Thomas and Jordan Spieth were 1 up against Sungjae Im and Corey Conners after three holes of their foursomes (alternate shot) match, and it was Thomas’ turn to tee off on the 4th, a 168-yard par-3. Thomas got ready, teed up his ball and then swung — and hit about two inches behind it. He disintegrated the divot he kicked up and his ball landed in the fairway well short of the green.
Thomas looked back at the shot and handed his club to his caddy, Jim Mackay. He then smiled and laughed.
“I’m just laying you up to a good yardage,” Thomas joked to Spieth, according to the broadcast.
“One of the worst shots you’ll ever see a good player hit,” Azinger said. “Dude is going in the hall of fame and just chucked one 20 yards short of the green with a 9-iron.”
Technically, it was 44 yards short of the pin. Thomas shook his head as he walked down the fairway. When Spieth arrived to play it, the broadcast team kicked the call down to on-course reporter Roger Maltbie.
“I don’t have a yardage,” Maltbie joked, hinting that on-course reporters don’t prepare for players to hit from the fairways on par-3s.
Luckily for the Americans, Spieth spun a chip close and their par putt was conceded.
As for Thomas, he put his blunder behind him quickly. The next time he teed off was on the par-3 6th, this time from 253 yards, and he stuck it to 21 feet and the Americans made par to win the hole and go 3 up. He also made one of the biggest putts of the day, when he rolled in this birdie putt on 15.
Thomas and Spieth won the match 2 and 1, and the Americans grabbed a 4-1 lead after the opening day.