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From left, during the 2019 Masters Par-3 event: Rickie Fowler; Justin Thomas and wife Jillian; Fowler’s wife, Allison; and Jordan Spieth and wife Annie.
Justin Thomas smiles before the question is even done being asked. No doubt, it’s a fun topic for those who know their golf — and are married to those who may have previously only heard about the peculiar stick-and-ball sport.
“When you met Jill, or when you guys went out on your first date, what was her level of golf knowledge, and where is it now and how did we get there?”
“I have a lot of funny stories about this,” Thomas said.
Undoubtedly — as Jillian Wisniewski likely does when the conversation turns to marketing, her profession. Every job has its idiosyncrasies, and when introduced to someone, comedy ensues. Still, golf is among the oddest games, and the welcoming to it can deliver some doozies, especially for readers of a website that shares a name with the sport.
So take it away, JT.
“So her level of golf knowledge was very low,” Thomas said Wednesday ahead of this week’s Tournament of Champions. “So she went to college with all my friends at Kentucky, and that’s how I met her. Whenever I would go back home, I would visit my friends at UK, and she was best friends with all my best friends.
“So I met her and she tells a funny story of, earlier that year was when I think I had won Malaysia [in 2015 and ’16] or something like that to where all my friends, being the good friends that they are, had the bar put the golf on. Because of the time change, it was 12 o’clock, 1 in the morning, the golf was on. She tells the story of, I was so confused why my friends wanted to put golf on at the bar at like 12 or 1 o’clock. Like it made no sense. Like she didn’t really ask, but just was, in her head, was like, that’s really weird. And then once we met and we became friends, she understood; OK, this makes sense.
“And to the level of her golf knowledge, I was texting with her today and told her that the pro-am might be a little bit longer because it’s cart path only. And she asked: What is cart path only? So I had to explain cart path only to her.
“But it’s — she’s learning. Her golf, her level of golf knowledge is perfect. Absolutely perfect.”
“By perfect you mean …” a reporter asked.
“Just enough and not too much,” said Thomas, who married Wisniewski in November.
Noted. The topic also came up in Scottie Scheffler’s pre-tournament presser, and his story was similar, too. He met his wife, Meredith, his freshman year of high school.
And how much golf did she know as a freshman?
“Zero,” Scheffler said.
So take it away, Scottie.
“I remember specifically when we dated in high school I got an opportunity — I won the U.S. Junior in 2013,” said Scheffler, who married Meredith in December of 2020. “And in 2014, I had the opportunity to play in the Byron Nelson as a high school student. And Meredith, like I was at her house one day, we were hanging out with her dad or something, and the commercial came on TV. And she was kind of looking around, she was like, wait a minute, isn’t that next weekend, isn’t that what you’re doing? And I was like, yeah, that’s what I’m doing. She’s like, wow, that’s cool. And I was like, OK.
“And she’s learned fast. She’s been around the game now for eight years? Yeah, eight years. Almost nine. It will be nine at the end of this year.”
“Did you start dating as freshmen?” a reporter asked.
“We started dating our senior year. I had to woo her for a few years,” Scheffler said with a smile. “But, yeah, she’s a student of the game. She’s come to learn it. She’s spent a lot of time around my parents, who love golf, and she’s learning.”
“Does she play?” a reporter asked.
“No. I got some great video of her at the wives event last year that is — it’s bad,” Scheffler said.
Why haven’t we seen it?
“Because she probably won’t let me put it out,” Scheffler said, laughing again.
Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at email@example.com.
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