“The only thing that mattered was Zach and the other six guys wanted me”

Ronan MacNamara

Justin Thomas (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Justin Thomas is relieved to have received a Ryder Cup wildcard pick from USA captain Zach Johnson having admitted that he thought he would miss out on this year’s contest in Rome.

The two-time major champion endured a torrid season and is without a win since May 2022 having struggled for form during large parts of the season. Thomas missed the cut in three of the four majors this season and missed out on the FedEx Cup playoffs meaning he was reliant on Johnson awarding him with a captains pick – to much backlash it must be said.

“After I was picked from the team, doesn’t matter what it is, especially when it comes to people and stuff online, everybody’s got an opinion and theirs is right and everybody else’s is wrong, at least that’s what generally seems to be. So for that exact reason, I stayed away from social media and stayed away from stuff online because I knew nothing good was going to come from it,” said Thomas.

Thomas boasts a formidable record in the Ryder Cup winning 6.5 points from nine sessions as well as forming a terrific partnership with close friend Jordan Spieth with the pair a combined 8-2-0 in both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup including going 4-0-0 in the latter last year.

Undoubtedly Johnson is playing a risky game by sacrificing current form for previous form.

“The only thing that mattered to me was that Zach and the vice captains and the, I guess, at that time, other six guys on the team wanted me on the team,” Thomas added. “Zach and I had had discussions whenever it was before the picks, what I told him, is I’m like, look, obviously, of course, I want to be on the team, yeah. I think that I can compete and that I can go out there and I can do great for the team. But at the end of the day, if the six guys in that room don’t think that I’m what’s best for the team, then I don’t deserve to go.

“That’s been my thought the whole time, and I’m very glad that they did and do have faith in me. And now that I’m here, all of us hold the same weight as the other one. We are all one, and it’s just our job to go out there and try to win points.”

Thomas missed out on the FedEx Cup playoffs in agonising fashion at the Wyndham Championship. Needing a closing birdie to break into the top-70, Thomas’ birdie chip rattled the flagstick and stayed out. He admitted to stewing over that moment for a few days before thinking he would not be part of the Ryder Cup in Marco Simone.

“Three or four or five days after Wyndham, I had just fully accepted that whatever was going to happen was going to happen.

“I mean, obviously I was going to be happy or upset one way or the other but I just had gotten to a point I would say, really, the U.S. Open was a really, really low place for me. I was playing arguably the best golf I’ve played in years going into there and I shot a thousand and almost finished last. So that’s a pretty bad feeling to be perfectly honest.

“But then I played well the next week, so it just was weird. I was putting so much emphasis and so much pressure on trying to play well to make the Ryder Cup, as opposed to trying to make the Playoffs, which is a wild concept, but unfortunately just the way my mind was working. I don’t know what it was.

“I just, for some reason, that next week after the Wyndham, when those the guys were in Memphis, I was off. I was just kind like, all right, I’ve accepted whatever was going to happen was going to happen.

“I wasn’t losing sleep at night thinking, Oh, if I had done this differently or I could have done that differently and so on and so forth. Just glad it worked out the way it did for me to be here.”

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