Golf

How Tiger Woods helps Justin Thomas get ideal Masters tee times

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On certain days at Augusta National, Justin Thomas rarely has to worry about snagging a desirable practice-round tee time. And no, he’ll tell you, it has nothing to do with his resume.
Thomas was the guest on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar Podcast — the podcast’s 200th episode overall — and in it he talked about his now somewhat customary Masters practice rounds with Tiger Woods and Fred Couples. That duo has a combined six Masters titles between them (five from Woods).
“It’s very cool. I try to not look past it or take it for granted,” Thomas said. “I’m very, very lucky. Not just because we are friends and able to spend some time together, but that I’m able to play practice rounds with those guys. That’s one of the few weeks that I have really no shame big-timing anybody.” [Laughs]
For example, Thomas said one year a certain Mid-Amateur champ asked to play a practice round with him. They played junior golf together and knew each other well.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, we’ll see, ya know, when we get there,’” Thomas said. “It was a while [before the tournament], and then on Monday he’s like, ‘You want to play tomorrow?’ And I’m like, ‘Playing with Tiger and Freddie. I’m sorry.’
“For my own well-being and actual preparation for the golf tournament, it does not get any better than literally just following Tiger and Freddie around Augusta,” Thomas continued. “So I had absolutely no shame in saying that and I probably won’t in the future if we keep doing it.”
One added perk, Thomas said, is the easy access to tee times. The first tee at Augusta opens at 8 a.m. for practice rounds, he says, so if there’s an afternoon storm or showers in the weather forecast, the field might rush to squeeze in their round as early as possible.
“And then you get to the range and there is 20 people on the range,” Thomas said. “Everybody is all trying to go off first off 1, and in my head I’m like, I feel pretty good that we are going to be the first group off here today, and it sure as hell is not because of me.”
You can listen to Thomas’ complete Supbar interview here, or watch it on YouTube below.

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.
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