By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Justin Thomas said on Tuesday the new world of mandatory testing that golfers underwent this week as the PGA Tour gets set to resume play in Fort Worth, Texas amid the COVID-19 pandemic was an easy process and one they should get used to.
The American world number four, who will make his Charles Schwab Challenge debut at Colonial Country Club in a tournament closed to the general public, said nasal swabs and thermal scans were a small price to pay to get back on the course.
“I would say 2020 is beyond a bizarre year so far, and especially in the world of sports it’s just going to be different,” Thomas said during a virtual news conference from Colonial, where the first round begins on Thursday.
“If we all want to get back and play the game that we love and not just for us but for the fans and everybody at home, we’re just going to have to get over the fact that it’s going to be different and be a little weird.”
The tournament marks the PGA Tour’s first since action was halted in mid-March because of the novel coronavirus and has attracted a strong field headlined by the world’s top five golfers.
But despite a talent-laden field that is the first of the FedExCup era other than The Players Championship to showcase 100 or more PGA Tour winners, Thomas expects to see a dip in the quality of play.
“The quality of play is going to be all over the place just, again, because of rust, because of how much guys have been practicing but also just being away from competitive golf that long or how they choose to use their time off,” the 27-year-old said.
“You’re going to see definitely a wide variety of scores, not just because of the golf course but just to see who used their time well or not.”
Thomas, who will play the opening two rounds with fellow Americans Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, last competed in late-February at the WGC-Mexico Championship where he finished in a share of sixth place.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)