Justin Thomas isn’t taking Team USA’s chances for granted at Le Golf National. James Savage sat down with the Ryder Cup rookie
It’s hard to believe Justin Thomas will be a Ryder Cup rookie when the teams line up at Le Golf National later this month.
The 2017 PGA Champion has won EIGHT times since he missed out on Davis Love III’s victorious team from Hazeltine two years ago.
Many believed Thomas should have been handed a wildcard pick in 2016 but the 25-year-old admits he didn’t do enough to earn one.
Thomas is a confident lad but seems to be displaying a bit more caution than some of his team mates. He seems fully aware that winning the Ryder Cup away from home is a monumental task.
But who does he want to play with? Will he play with his best mate and break up the formidable Spieth/Reed partnership? And what impact will Tiger Woods have on the team?
We caught up with Thomas to find out…
Did you feel a little bit unlucky to miss out on making the Ryder Cup team in 2016?
I wouldn’t say I was unlucky. I had a great opportunity to prove myself and I didn’t play the way I know I can at the right time.
I had nobody to blame but myself and it really hurt for a while. I don’t know exactly how close I was to ultimately making that team, but I know I was just too inconsistent down the stretch.
It was a goal of mine to make that team and I fell short. I told myself that wouldn’t happen again in 2018. It wasn’t going to let it come down to a captain’s pick.
What are some of your most vivid memories from watching the Ryder Cup on TV as a kid?
I don’t think there was one or two things that ever stood out for me, other than dreaming that I want to be out there playing some day.
I actually saw three Ryder Cups in person growing up, so I’ve had a taste of seeing what it is like watching it from outside the ropes.
I want to experience what it is like inside. I’m a huge sports fan and I have gone to some great sporting events. But I have never seen anything like the pride and patriotism the spectators show on both sides during the Ryder Cup.
One of my goals this year is to be part of a winning Ryder Cup team.
The USA team must be pretty confident with their run of success in the majors. Is there a risk of being over-confident heading to Paris?
I really don’t think one has anything to do with the other and last time I looked Francesco won the Open Championship.
Also, since we are playing in France, the atmosphere is going to be a lot different for our team than it would be if we were playing in the US.
We haven’t won on European soil since 1993. That’s 25 years. So we have no reason to be cocky coming into this Ryder Cup.
I know I want to be part of, and contribute to the team that ends that streak. But just because our guys have won more majors over the last year or two has nothing to do with the confidence we bring into this.
What difference do Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson make to the team? And who does JT have his eye on as a playing partner in Paris? Interview continues on the next page…