By Fatiha Betscher, Albany, The Bahamas.
Justin ‘JT’ Thomas has praised Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy but has poured cold water by ruling-out the likelihood of any foreseeable peace between the warring factions in men’s professional golf.
Thomas, speaking ahead of the opening round of the 2022 Hero World Challenge, is nowadays one of Woods’ closest friends while he’s a great friend also to McIlroy.
McIlroy has very much become a spokesperson for the PGA Tour with Woods on Tuesday singling out McIlroy, who is head of the Players Committee, for the leadership role he’s been taking on, and in the absence of virtually any comment from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan on the continuing conflict.
And ‘JT’ addressed the war of words ahead of the reigning PGA Champion teeing-up this week in the US$3m event.
“Definitely not,” was his response when asked if he saw any peace being reached.
“I think they’ve made that pretty well known it’s not — doesn’t seem like they don’t really want peace. I still get along with — I mean I’ve talked to plenty of them, I see some of them, the guys that are playing on LIV, but it doesn’t seem that they really want peace.
“And I’m also really not too worried about it. Those guys, they’re doing their thing and we’re out here trying to do ours and play well. We have great leadership in Tiger and Rory, what they’re trying to lead the group of guys out here to create a great product out here on the PGA Tour.
“You know, we’ve been the best tour for a very, very long time and we plan on continuing to do that. I’m excited about the future. I know that they are, too. Yeah, it is what it is”.
The now 29-year-old Thomas is coming off a best season since 2017 when he won five times, including the PGA Championship, and earlier this year capturing a second Rodman Wanamaker trophy, coming from seven shots back with a round to play to win in a play-off.
“I had a very solid beginning of the year. I think I had, I don’t know, I had a handful of top-3s or top-5s, but it’s just a lot of my best play was prior to the PGA,” he said. “So I think if you took the beginning of the season to PGA, I would argue that I played better than anybody. I would say that yeah, a lot — not a lot, but more people had more wins than I did. But in terms of playing golf, I felt that I was playing just as well if not better than anybody.
“But unfortunately that doesn’t really get you trophies or points or money. You have to go out and you have to execute the shots when you need to and hit a shot and make the putts and make the mental decisions, all that, and I just wasn’t doing that as well last year.”