Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images
By Steve DiMeglio |
May 22, 2020 8: 33 am
Justin Thomas does not do quiet.
For six years now, he’s been a combustible force on the PGA Tour, a player who at any moment can deliver explosions of red numbers that echo loudly throughout the golf World.
He has a 59 on his resume, has won tournaments at 27-, 26-, 25-, 23-, 22- and 20-under par. His high-octane swing has taken him to No. 1 in the World and helped him win the 2017 PGA Championship and 2017 FedExCup along with 12 PGA Tour titles, the most for any active player under 30.
Golf club in hand, he makes a commotion.
Put a mic in his hand? Well, don’t expect him to hit the mute button.
The current World No. 4 has no intention of toning down the decibels when he makes his debut as an on-course analyst in Sunday’s “The Match: Champions for Charity” at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, where Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning will battle Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in an 18-hole match that will raise more than $10 million for coronavirus relief efforts.
Thomas is intent to bring the noise despite the role being historically subdued.
“We’ll have some fun and jaw at each other. I know if they don’t, I will,” Thomas told Golfweek. “I can’t be on a golf course for 18 holes around four competitors like that and not talk trash.
“I’m obviously not going to say anything bad or controversial, but you can’t put me on a golf course for that long and expect me to keep my mouth shut.”
The newly minted cover boy for the new PGA Tour 2K21 video game, who won twice this season before the PGA Tour shut down March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was thrown a bit when approached for this duty. But he jumped at the opportunity because of his connection with the four players.
“I thought it was weird at first, because I’m in the beginning of my career and I’m not trying to start a broadcasting career,” said Thomas, 27. “I keep joking with my parents that we’re going to see how that communications major work I had at Alabama paid off those two years I was in school.
“I’m not going to be analyzing every shot. I’m going to ask them some questions that people at home want to hear. I am far and away in the background of this huge match of raising a lot of money for a great cause and that’s the main goal.
“I don’t have to travel for it. I live here. I’ll wake up that morning, I’ll go out there and just basically hang out with four buddies. And I’ll get to watch a fun match and give them some banter.”
He’ll bring plenty of wisdom to the course, too. He’s logged more than 100 rounds there as a member, many with good buddy Rickie Fowler. And Thomas has formed a close friendship with Woods – they teamed to win two matches in the USA’s win in last year’s Presidents Cup. The two also have played a few rounds together recently at Medalist.
“Tiger’s been great,” Thomas said. “We both have been in each other’s small circle in terms of everything that’s been going on. Getting together for practicing, playing a round. He looks good on the golf course.”
As for his own game, Thomas is anxious for the PGA Tour’s scheduled restart June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. He plans on playing a lot of golf if the season resumes and plays on without interruption.
“I totally am comfortable,” in returning, Thomas said. “I’m in the group that is ready to go. The PGA Tour would never do anything that would jeopardize the health of the players, caddies’ health or staff in any way. All the appropriate decisions have been made and will be made and if for some reason the Tour doesn’t feel we’re ready, then we won’t play. But right now we’re ready to go.
“I miss all the guys. I miss winning tournaments, miss having the chance to win tournaments. You can’t compare anything to that. I’m excited to play a practice round with some other guys besides Rickie and competing against someone rather than Rickie. I love him to death but I need to see some other guys.”
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