FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Justin Thomas withdrew from the PGA Championship on Monday, saying he was not willing to risk more pain in his right wrist by returning before it’s fully healed.
The former University of Alabama player, who won the PGA Championship two years ago at Quail Hollow, will miss a major for the first time since his rookie season in 2015.
He is dealing with a bone bruise first suffered in the Honda Classic when he intentionally struck a tree on his follow-through. He felt he aggravated it during the final round of the Masters, though he said it wasn’t on any particular shot.
“I’ve seen too many people come back too early,” Thomas said from his home in Jupiter, Florida. “I plan on doing this successfully for a long time, and I don’t want a dumb decision to set me back.”
He said he could have played the PGA Championship this week at Bethpage Black, but without guaranteeing there wouldn’t be a setback.
Thomas, the No. 5 player in the world, was replaced by Kelly Kraft.
Thomas tied for 12th at the Masters, where he made a hole-in-one on the 16th hole in the final round. He had not hit balls since then and withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago to give his wrist every chance to heal.
He started hitting 50 balls a day over the weekend and was up to a 5-iron on Sunday. His plan was to try to driver on Monday, play a full 18 holes at home on Tuesday and then fly up to Bethpage on Wednesday.
“It hurt on a couple of shots and I felt like it wasn’t worth it,” he said.
Thomas believes if his club had snapped in half when he hit the tree at Honda that he would have been fine, but that he felt a shock up his right arm when it didn’t break.
“I guess I should have chipped out,” he said with a laugh. “I still made bogey, which is worse.”
He did not know when he would return and has not ruled out Colonial next week, depending on how his wrist reacts to rest and rehab. He also has the Memorial on his schedule, and the next major is June 13-16 at Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open.
In the meantime, he is doing plenty of putting, but not much else.
“I figured out there’s not a lot do in South Florida if you don’t play golf,” he said.