Justin Thomas grew up idolizing Tiger Woods. He’s often told a great story about how at age 7 he watched the 2000 PGA Championship duel between Tiger Woods and Bob May from the sanctity of the Valhalla Golf Club clubhouse in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Tiger hits the putt on camera, and before it can fall in on TV, I can just hear the roar outside. I’ll never forget that,” Thomas said. “I mean, that week was the reason that I was like, ‘OK, this is really what I want to do.’”
Fast-forward to December at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, where Thomas, now 26, was handpicked by Woods, his Presidents Cup captain, to be his partner in the opening match of the biennial competition. This time Thomas, who has also used his COVID-19 induced downtime to play golf lefty, submit video of his hair grooming to Fox’s Joe Buck and join the No Laying Up podcast to reveal a different type of hair-raising moment.
On the long walk to the first tee on Thursday, Woods broke the silence by saying, “Are you ready to go get ’em?”
“I’m like, ‘Yeah,’ ” Thomas recounted. “I don’t know why — I didn’t even think about saying this the night before, the week before. It just kind of hit me and I put my arm on his shoulder and I was like, ‘Hey dude,’ and he’s like, ‘What’s up?” I’m like, ‘I want to see that player I looked up to my entire life growing up.’ I was like, ‘That’s the Tiger I want to see this week.’ He kind of smiled and winked at me and said, ‘Let’s go.’ I don’t know why I said it, I don’t know why it came to my mind, but it was a pretty cool moment and one that I will remember, for sure.”
“Woo,” NLU interviewer Chris Solomon said. “That kind of got me in the feels there.”
You are not alone, Solly. Goosebumps moment.