Got a question? Justin Thomas can turn to Tiger Woods

AUGUSTA — Maybe some good advice will get Justin Thomas that coveted green jacket.

Tiger Woods would be just the player to dish out the wisdom to navigate Augusta National Golf Club. After all, he has done it five times before. That’s one less than the number of times Thomas has played in the Masters.

Thomas will make his seventh appearance at the Masters, and he steadily improved in his first five appearances. Starting in 2016, Thomas tied for 39th, tied for 22nd, tied for 17th, tied for 12th and finished solo fourth. He slipped to a tie for 21st last year.

The No. 7-ranked golfer in the world acknowledges he gets advice from Woods – to the point that other golfers notice.

“I think there’s only one man in this field that hears advice from Tiger because I’ve asked before and I get nothing,” Jon Rahm joked Tuesday. “So you might need to ask Justin Thomas. … I’ve asked (Woods) before. I remember asking him at East Lake the year he won, before on the putting green in the practice round, ‘Hey, man, any tips for Bermuda?’ Or this and that. He turned around and said, ‘It’s all about feel’ and just kept going. I was like, ‘Cool, thank you.’

“Yeah, I asked him at Albany once about chipping into the grain. ‘You just got to be shallow.’ OK. Meanwhile, I turn around and J.T.’s there with him, and he’s getting a whole dissertation on what to do.”

Woods and Thomas have developed a friendship. Woods referred to Thomas as his younger brother. Woods said his son, Charlie, is like Thomas’ little brother.

What does Thomas ask, specifically about the Masters?

“I’m not necessarily asking him a lot of specifics about here,” Thomas said Tuesday. “When I’m asking him stuff at home, I’m just – it’s just like I would ask Jon Rahm a question or ask Jordan (Spieth) a question. Any person or buddy that I respect their game and I think that they are really good and they maybe are a little bit better at something that I am not as consistently good at, like I want to learn, so I’m going to ask a question.

“I feel like Tiger’s been a good person for me to do that. But, yeah, I guess I’m very fortunate in that regard.”

Indeed.

Thomas comes into the Masters with some momentum. He has four top-10 finishes in 2022. Even though he is a major championship winner – the 2017 PGA Championship with a FedExCup title to his credit – Thomas said he has underperformed in the majors.

“I know I have,” Thomas said. “I have not even close to performed well in my entire career in majors. I had a good year in ‘17. I had one good major there at the PGA, I think in ‘18, and played well at the Masters here in ‘20. But in terms of a result standpoint, which is at the end of the day is all that matters when it comes to tournaments is how you finish at the end of the week, but no, I feel like I’ve performed very, very poorly.

“To be perfectly honest, what I value the most, I'm not going to tell you because I don't really want any of the other competitors knowing it."

- Justin Thomas, on the most valuable advice he has received from Tiger Woods

“I feel like I’ve learned, but I’ve just put too much pressure on myself in the past and maybe put the tournament on too much of a pedestal and tried to, you know, just overdo things when in reality I should have faith in my game and the things that I can do on the course, with the golf ball, whatever it is. I just need to get a little bit better at kind of getting in my own world and just going to play golf.”

Thomas will get some more advice from an Augusta National sage. Jim “Bones” Mackay will serve as his caddie. Mackay, as you will note, has directed Phil Mickelson to three Masters championships. The two came to Augusta last week to fine-tune their relationship with regard to the course.

Information, they say, is key.

When pressed for the best advice Woods has given him, Thomas played it close to the vest.

“To be perfectly honest, what I value the most, I’m not going to tell you because I don’t really want any of the other competitors knowing it.”