Fatiha Betscher at the Renaissance Club.
Justin Thomas arrived in Scotland for this week’s 40th Genesis Scottish Open singing the praise of all things Ireland.
Thomas had been competing earlier this week in the JP McManus Pro-Am and eventually shared sixth place at Adare Manor.
And ‘JT’ clearly thrilled in being on the Emerald Isle for a first time in his career, including having an Irish-born caddy for the two rounds, the opportunity to tee-up at Tralee and also savour a pint of Guinness, even though it was 9.45 in the morning.
“Danny was my caddy for the two days at the JP McManus Pro-Am, and he was the GM at Old Head, which is an unbelievable course in Ireland. Had a great time with him,” said Thomas.
“On the Sunday ahead of the event we went and played Tralee and then got out on Adare Manor on Monday and hit my drive down the first hole and had like 158 yards to like a pin in the centre of the green, like downwind and 9-iron. Like I should be hitting this inside of ten, 15 feet all day, and I hit it to 35 feet, and every single person clapped.
“I just handed Danny the club and I was just like, well, you know we’re in Ireland and we got a clap for all those shots. We wouldn’t be getting those claps if we were back in the States.
“It’s just stuff like that, respect for the game of golf and how excited everybody gets.
“We had a couple hundred people following us when Jordan (Spieth), Rick (Fowler) and I went and played Tralee, and it’s like they — yeah, they maybe want to have the opportunity to get a picture or an autograph, but they just want to watch us play golf. They want to see the shots we hit. They want to hear the sound that it makes, the flight it has.
“And it is — and golf is unbelievable in the States as well, I’m not saying it isn’t, but it’s different, like you said. It just has so much history over here, and it’s definitely something I wish that I could — I wish it was closer so that I could come over here more and spend some more time and play some different places because I’ve never had a bad time over here playing golf for sure.
“It was really fun. I never had the opportunity to go play in JP’s Pro-Am and I had unbelievable expectations going into them but it somehow exceeded them. It was truly incredible. I have never — I mean, the crowds and the people that were out there, I was just telling John (Bush – PGA Tour Press Officer) on the way here to the media centre, it was like every hole walking to the tee you got a standing ovation, every green you got a standing ovation. Everybody was so excited for all of us to be there. There was so many people.
“I was blown away at a Pro-Am how many people were out there and the support that Ireland got but to have the opportunity to go play was really cool. My only negative was that I didn’t go earlier and I couldn’t go play more of those golf courses. It was a very, very enjoyable couple of days.”
So, what about the first pint of the ‘black stuff’?
“I’d had a really filling Irish breakfast that morning and it was around 9.45 that I had my first pint of Guinness,” said Thomas smiling.
“It was better than I thought it was to be perfectly honest. It was something I don’t know that I could necessarily go have seven or eight of them, at least at my drinking level if you will, but I definitely enjoyed a couple of them. It was nice.”
As well, Thomas, Spieth and Fowler were handed a pint of Guinness while playing Tralee, and as they do in Ireland!
On the back of JT’s singing endorsement of all things Irish, he must be worthy of honorary Irish citizenship.