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'Unbelievable': Justin Thomas praises Bryson DeChambeau's remarkable transformation and success

Former world No. 1 Justin Thomas says that, although competitive golf has resumed following the hiatus because of the pandemic, golfers are "very lucky" to continue playing while others are having a hard time.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 5:00 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 5:00 PM

Like many in the golf world, he had his doubts at first but now he's a believer.

Former world No.1 Justin Thomas was skeptical of the revolutionary methods Bryson DeChambeau adopted in his search for success.

Dubbed 'The Scientist' due to his willingness to test his boundaries and trial new technology, DeChambeau returned to the golf course following the coronavirus hiatus 40 pounds heavier having spent hours in the gym. It was a weight gain that allowed him to hit the ball even further -- DeChambeau comfortably leads the PGA Tour's driving distance rankings.

The revamp reaped immediate rewards for the American, as he won his maiden major, romping to a six-shot victory at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York last month.

DeChambeau's success and transformation is described by Thomas as "unbelievable."

"I'm the first to admit that I didn't think it was going to work that well and I didn't necessarily agree with what he was doing," Thomas told CNN Sport's Patrick Snell.

"But he's proven it. He's just won a major at one of the hardest golf courses in the world," added Thomas, who has also been impressed by DeChambeau's putting.

"As far as he hits it, as strong as he's gotten, as much weight as he's put on, he putts the c**p out of it to be perfectly honest.

"He's getting some of us out here to try to find that extra gear. He's going to continue to work hard and try to get stronger."

Thomas is also conscious of getting "stronger," but he's taking it step-by-step.

"You just hope that he [DeChambeua] doesn't hurt himself like a lot of, I guess, other people have trying to get stronger and get fit. But I know that's what I'm doing. I'm trying to get stronger. But most importantly, I'm trying to continue to play injury free."

READ: The future of golf could be shorter than you think

Golf without fans

2020 has been an extraordinary year for golf. Having had to postpone all tournaments for three months, competitive action has returned but without fans.

The absence of the energy that spectators bring to tournaments is the "hardest part" of playing in the Covid-19 era, according to Thomas.

"We're so fortunate to get to do what we love to do," the 2017 PGA Championship winner explained. "We're getting to do our job still. We're getting to play competitively.

"We have it so much better than a lot of people do and myself and a lot of us, all of us don't take that for granted. And the fact of not being able to play in front of fans, although it's a bummer, things could be exponentially worse.

"So we don't take it for granted. We were happy to be able to do what we love and hopefully bring joy to people at home watching, because that's something that I think we all can't get enough of this year."

For Thomas, the 2020 PGA Tour season has been one of his more productive. He won three events, finished second in two -- including the season-ending Tour Championship -- and third in another.

His most recent victory came at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in August. But the pandemic has taught the 27-year-old Thomas to "appreciate things more."

"I'm so incredibly lucky. And to get to do what I love to do and again, to continue to do what I love to do, I mean, there's so many people out there, even not in Covid times, that don't get the luxury of a lot of things that I and we get to do.

"And during all this and with small businesses struggling and people around the world having a hard time, especially in our country. But I try to get better and I hope I have gotten better of just being more appreciative of what I have. And you never want a pandemic like this to be able to do that but, unfortunately, it's happened and hopefully that's come from it."

READ: 'One in a million' golfer Brendan Lawlor blazing a trail for others to follow

Goal setting

Thomas was speaking to CNN Sport ahead of the 2020 edition of the CJ Cup, which has a total purse or $9.75 million. Last year, he won his second CJ Cup title, an event that was first played in October 2017.

Normally played at the Nine Bridges Golf Club on Jeju Island, South Korea, this year's edition was moved to Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, Nevada because of the pandemic.

"I have set my goals. I actually set them on the flight out here. Usually I would have done it before the U.S. Open, but it was such a quick turnaround, to be perfectly honest, I just completely forgot."

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Although he admits it is a shame that he won't be able to defend his crown at a course where he's had "a lot of success," Thomas says going with the flow is what he's learnt to do in this extraordinary year.

"I think that's something that we're all learning this year, is that you have to make the best with the situation that you have. And the PGA Tour has done an unbelievable job of that this entire year. And Shadow Creek as a backup is about as good as it gets."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 291222

Reported Deaths: 6577
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19470226
Hinds18555383
Harrison16385273
Rankin12498260
Jackson12401216
Lee9635160
Madison9353193
Jones7836144
Forrest7055135
Lauderdale6735225
Lowndes5989137
Lamar579379
Lafayette5688113
Washington5124128
Bolivar4567120
Oktibbeha438091
Panola424092
Warren4091113
Pearl River4070127
Pontotoc406066
Marshall397992
Monroe3971125
Union391372
Neshoba3746166
Lincoln343799
Hancock337773
Leflore3346118
Sunflower315785
Tate299172
Pike297792
Scott291367
Alcorn289760
Itawamba288471
Yazoo282662
Tippah275265
Copiah273357
Coahoma272265
Simpson269278
Prentiss267158
Leake250870
Wayne250140
Marion249478
Covington246277
Grenada244576
Adams232374
George229545
Newton222551
Winston220174
Tishomingo210965
Jasper210343
Attala205669
Chickasaw200250
Holmes181470
Clay177348
Stone170729
Tallahatchie169039
Clarke167671
Calhoun155327
Smith151131
Yalobusha141936
Greene126333
Walthall123040
Noxubee122429
Montgomery120537
Perry120133
Lawrence118420
Carroll117123
Amite110632
Webster108629
Jefferson Davis99831
Tunica97923
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91226
Kemper89222
Quitman76614
Franklin75319
Choctaw69316
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson60827
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 488973

Reported Deaths: 9660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson703321342
Mobile35725716
Madison32088437
Tuscaloosa23913404
Montgomery22369481
Shelby21714209
Baldwin19554263
Lee14827147
Morgan13529243
Etowah13091309
Calhoun13063281
Marshall11197202
Houston10019255
Limestone9303130
Elmore9283179
Cullman8856176
St. Clair8747214
Lauderdale8541209
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7424161
Walker6466240
Jackson6450101
Autauga614384
Blount6058125
Colbert5973118
Coffee522299
Dale4606106
Russell400530
Franklin396575
Covington3918105
Chilton380096
Escambia375970
Tallapoosa3533138
Clarke342348
Dallas3385139
Chambers3382102
Pike292471
Lawrence280685
Marion277492
Winston244563
Marengo243454
Bibb243259
Geneva238168
Pickens223453
Barbour208450
Hale208064
Fayette198755
Butler194865
Henry181741
Cherokee175737
Monroe165538
Randolph161240
Washington155832
Crenshaw143052
Clay142554
Macon140344
Cleburne136139
Lamar130632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120525
Bullock116033
Conecuh106423
Perry104927
Sumter98231
Greene86732
Coosa86323
Choctaw54723
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