Justin Thomas wants to beat you so badly that you quit golf

February 13, 2020

Justin Thomas wants your golfing soul.

There’s killer instinct, and then there’s “you can just go ahead and put your clubs on the curb” moxie – and one of the world’s hottest golfers has it from the tip of his cap to the bottom of this week’s Kobe Bryant-inspired shoes.

“It doesn’t matter how close I am with someone — I want to beat them so bad that they want to quit golf,” Thomas said Wednesday in preparation for this week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.

“I don’t care if it’s Tiger [Woods], if it’s Jordan [Spieth], if it’s Rickie [Fowler], if it’s whatever, if it’s Jack Nicklaus — I don’t care. I’m out here to beat everybody — that’s what I’m tying to do.”

Thomas’ answer came in response to a question of whether it was possible to be friendly and respectful of Woods, while also seeing that one of the game’s best-ever players is nothing more than second best each week.

Thomas’ boyhood idol would be plenty proud of the response.

“Yeah, the only time I’m finally rooting for someone is when I’m in the clubhouse and I’m done and they’re out there playing and have a chance to win,” Thomas said.

Thomas has done a bit of soul-crushing already this season.

Wins at the CJ Cup and Sentry Tournament of Champions. Four total top 10s. And yes, there’s a big correlation between flawlessly finishing and first.

Thomas learned that painful lesson the hard way at Riviera last year. Entering the final round with a four-shot lead, Thomas ballooned to a 4-over 75, losing the tournament by one shot to J.B. Holmes.

“I hung in there for what I had that day,” Thomas said. “It just wasn’t quite good enough, but it was a great learning experience and I feel pretty confident that if I have another lead, that I won’t do that again.’

Interestingly, Thomas is paired with one of the game’s great closers in Woods for the third straight year at the Genesis, and Woods playfully — well, mostly playfully, as this is Tiger — reminded his pupil of their pairing at the Presidents Cup in December.

“I carried his a– in Australia,” Woods said Tuesday during his press conference.

Did he, JT?

“Yeah.

“That’s what he does. That’s why we’re friends, is we can joke with each other like that. But he did, he carried my a–.”

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