Justin Thomas credited Tiger Woods for making him fall in love with golf as the duo prepare for the Ryder Cup.
Thomas and Woods are just two of the stellar names in a formidable Team USA line-up at Le Golf National this week. Woods, a 14-time major champion, heads into the event on the back of his first win in five years at the Tour Championship and Thomas underlined how influential the 42-year-old has been in his own development.
Asked if he ever considered it odd to find himself in conversation with an idol of his, Thomas replied: "It is bizarre, just for me, he's the reason why I love golf so much.
"When I was seven and eight, nine years old, putting by myself on the putting green, in my head I was making this putt to beat him. Like a lot of guys on our team, I'm happy to have him on my team, as opposed to playing against him in strokeplay events."
The 2017 US PGA Championship winner revealed he had tapped into Woods' expertise to help him out ahead of his Masters bow two years ago.
"I reached out to him and just talked to him about Augusta," said Thomas, who has practiced alongside Woods in what could be a hint at Jim Furyk's plans to play them together.
"He wasn't playing, so he was going to be helpful. It's not like it was this year or whenever he plays. His mouth kind of closes a little bit or how much information he gives out is not quite as much. I tried to take advantage of that time when he was hurt as much as I possibly could. I think during that process, I wanted to be there for him as a friend, or as somebody, because the life he lives is so different than everybody else.
"If he gets bored, he can't go out in public and do something without getting harassed. Myself, Rickie [Fowler], other guys [living] in Jupiter, we wanted to hang out with him and we wanted to do whatever he wanted to do. So to be able to have that friendship relationship with him is cool. I'm happy to have him on my team."
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