LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Justin Thomas had planned to spend the off week of the FedEx Cup Playoffs at home in Jupiter, Fla., relaxing a couple of days and practicing on Wednesday and Thursday before flying to Chicago on Friday for this week’s BMW Championship.
Then Hurricane Irma happened.
The eye of the deadly storm was originally projected to make landfall somewhere on the southern part of Florida’s east coast late last weekend, and a mandatory evacuation was ordered for the area that Thomas lives. So Thomas instead spent early last week getting things around the house ready for the hurricane, including moving his outdoor television and furniture indoors, making sure his vehicles were in the garage and taking pictures of valuables for potential insurance purposes.
“It was a lot different off week than I had planned or had in my mind coming from Boston,” Thomas said.
The preparation also included finding a safe place for his most prized possession: the Wanamaker Trophy from his PGA victory last month. For that, Thomas went down the street to the home of Rickie Fowler.
“I had some valuables that I actually just took to Rickie’s house down the street because he has a safe that’s built in the ground and is a little more sturdy than I may have, and took the Wanamaker, took some watches and some other valuables and put them in there because I figured at least I have those if everything goes,” Thomas said.
Luckily for Thomas, his house made out fine during the storm. Irma’s track shifted and instead made landfall on Florida’s west coast, near Marco Island and Naples.
“We got very, very lucky,” Thomas said of Jupiter. “I shouldn’t say we, I mean the state of Florida got hammered and it’s awful the last couple of weeks of what the hurricanes have done and growing up Louisville I never had to deal with anything like this. … It’s still hard for me to grasp what damage the hurricanes can do because the one last year was supposed to be so bad and it really wasn’t where I was, and then obviously Irma was supposed to be just absolutely just terrible (for Jupiter), one of the (most) catastrophic, one of the worst that’s ever hit the state and the country, and it ended up being not as bad.
“Like I said, it’s hard for me to grasp. I’m just hoping that every place and home and family that was affected can have a speedy recovery and everything can get back to normal as quick as possible.”
As for Thomas, his focus is now getting ready to tackle Conway Farms. He is second in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Jordan Spieth, and guaranteed a top-3 place in points entering the Tour Championship.
It will be a little easier to focus now knowing that he and his home dodged the worst of Irma.