Justin Thomas says he’s getting more comfortable working with substitute caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay every day. On Saturday, Thomas fired a 4-under 66 to sit alone in fifth place at 8-under 202 and four strokes off the lead held by Brendon Todd at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
On Sunday, Thomas and Mackay are paired in the third-to-last group with Phil Mickelson, Bones’ longtime boss, which should make for some interesting banter between the two.
Thomas’ regular sidekick, Jimmy Johnson, is sidelined after suffering from dizziness at The Memorial two weeks ago. Thomas said Johnson, a veteran caddie who previously worked for Steve Stricker for several years, is undergoing a battery of tests.
“His first test came back was fine,” Thomas said. “He’s fine when he’s inside and not in the severe heat like that. The big thing is we’re just trying to figure out what it is or if there’s something in particular, whether it’s some medicine he takes. More often than not, it’s not something crazy major. It’s just like I told him and I think that he’s figuring out, it’s a lot bigger than caddying. It’s about his health.
“I love Jimmy to death, he’s part of the family and I want him over anybody else in the world on my bag for the rest of my career, but if it means his health, then that’s what it is. So that’s what he’s trying to fix so that he can get himself better first and foremost, and then caddying is just a bonus.”
Thomas has said that Mackay will be on the bag next week at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park while Johnson undergoes some additional tests.
“He’s got a couple weeks to kind of figure out some sort of game plan. I told him I’ll be as helpful or as involved or uninvolved as he wants me to be,” Thomas said. “You know, whether he’s here this week or not, he’s still on the team and I’m still a part of his team as well. So, I’m going to do, and everybody else on my team is going to do, what we can to help, but glad he’s home resting right now.”
Of working with Mackay, the longtime caddie for Mickelson who has become a respected on-course reporter for Golf Channel, Thomas said, “Luckily I had him before, Sony a couple years ago, so it’s not a totally new experience. It’s what it is for the time being until my man Jimmy gets all good and hopefully we can go have a good day tomorrow.”
In other caddie news, Webb Simpson’s bagman, Paul Tesori, missed his first round in 20 years due to back and hip pain. He was replaced by Joe Duplantis. Simpson said it doesn’t look good for Tesori to be able to work at the PGA Championship next week.
“His back went out last week and it’s been really painful for him this week,” Simpson said. “He managed kind of the first two rounds, but yesterday was really tough for him. He woke up and it was a little bit worse, so he thought it would be smartest to take it off.”