(Golf) Justin Thomas, he would like you to know, is exhausted. And annoyed. And “over it, for sure.”
And yet …
“It’s tough,” the world’s fifth-ranked player said this week on the No Laying Up podcast. “And I never thought I would be lying in bed so many nights thinking about this fricking tour and what’s going on and all this stuff.”
If you’ve been following your golf news, even loosely, you know to what he speaks of without us even naming the subject. You may be weary of it all, too, and that’s understandable. But the LIV Golf Series presses on — it’s playing its second-ever event this week in Portland — and the controversy that comes with that makes central figures like Thomas trying to make sense of it all both to himself and to others, no matter how much he would rather not.
No, JT is not going to play on the upstart, Saudi-backed series anytime soon; he’s as pro-PGA Tour as they come, But that, along with his lofty status — he’s also won his second major this year, the PGA — makes him a go-to source for his thoughts on the golf topic du jour, and No Laying Up podcast host Chris Solomon asked a thoughtful question to that:
How does Thomas view this role?
Good point. It’s a lot to take on. He answered, while also deep-diving into more LIV thoughts. (It’s here where we advise you to listen to the entirepodcast, which also touches on Thomas’ win at the PGA, his relationship with his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, and Will Zalatoris.)
“I go back and forth about how involved I should be, how involved I shouldn’t be, what I should say, what I shouldn’t say, what I want to say and what I know I can’t say and back and forth of all these different things,” Thomas said on the podcast. “When it first happened and when it came out, guys, they’re going to do what they want to do, and yeah, do I wish they wouldn’t have, but they’re entitled to their own opinion and decision and so be it kind of thing. And I still do think that way, but Jimmy Dunne — did you read the article? — I thought he summarized everything that’s been going on in here for me in that.
“I understand that they’re being fed everything on what to say and all this stuff, but it’s just, for them to say that is all for the betterment of the game and for them — I just, to be perfectly honest, I just wish one of them would have the balls to say I’m doing this for the money. Like, I personally would gain a lot more respect for that. But it’s just the more the players keep talking and saying that this is for the betterment of the game, the more agitated and irritated I get about it. Because I can’t imagine for someone like me, who’s only on his seventh or eighth year on Tour and how important the Tour is to me, versus look at someone like a Rory McIlroy, who I’m sure had other opportunities to do something like this. You look at Tiger, who’s had god knows how many opportunities and things to do something like this. But their loyalties and everything that they’ve stood for and pushed have been with this Tour.
“Like I know I feel that way so I can’t imagine how strongly they feel. I’m sure they feel betrayed and hurt because again, I do a little bit. So the more and more I think about it, just the more annoyed and agitated I get with the guys that have done it. Again, so be it; they took their money and the Saudis reached their number, but like I’ve said, I’ve grown up my entire life wanting to play the PGA Tour and play on Ryder Cups and Presidents Cup and any kind of thought of that not being what it is, is sad, to be perfectly honest in my eyes. And I just never want it to get to that point, so that’s why I feel like I have been vocal.”
.@JustinThomas34 on his win at Southern Hills, Bones, what the second major means, LIV developments, PGA Tour changes, relationships with guys that have defected, and a ton more.
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— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) June 29, 2022