Ready to finish year strong, JT-Bones era officially begins at CJ Cup

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Another chapter of Justin Thomas’ career begins this week at the CJ Cup, where he and caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay will make their official debut together.

Thomas and Mackay have teamed up before, as recently as Summer 2020, when Thomas’ usual looper Jimmy Johnson was out because of health issues. They even won a tournament together, at the 2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

But now they’re officially an item, JT and Bones, after Thomas made the announcement following the Ryder Cup. It’s Mackay’s first foray into full-time caddying since he and Phil Mickelson parted ways in 2017. Since then, Mackay has served as a highly acclaimed on-course reporter for NBC Sports.

“He clearly loves caddying,” Thomas said Tuesday ahead of the CJ Cup in Las Vegas. “I’m sure a part of him wanted to be able to come back out and give another run at it. I know that we feel like we can really do it. I know he’s excited, I know I’m excited, and we’ve got a couple events this fall to get our feet wet and then once we start Kapalua (in January 2022), we’ll hit the ground running.”

After what he said was the busiest season of his career, Thomas is planning to play the CJ Cup, Mayakoba and Hero World Challenge to round out his year, and potentially the PNC Championship with his father, Mike.

Thomas and Mackay will have their work cut out for them this week at the CJ Cup, which is being held at first-time venue The Summit Club.

“I respect him; he’s such a good dude, and he’s a hard worker,” Thomas said of Mackay. “The events that we had together, what I thought was so unique and cool, he only had a couple weeks and he knew that just because of what was going on with Jimmy, and he treated that like were on Year 5, or it was Year 1 or 20. He wanted to get the most out of every week and wanted us to play the best that we could. I really liked that and I thought that was a great trait.”

Thomas won the Players Championship but uncharacteristically had only four other top-10s this calendar year. He hasn't played since a 2-1-1 showing at the Ryder Cup.