CARMEL, Ind. – One of the PGA Tour veterans that Justin Thomas usually turns to for advice is Davis Love III, but the upcoming Ryder Cup has made their relationship a bit more complicated this year.
“A lot of the advice I’d ask is how do I deal with the Ryder Cup, and he’s the captain,” Thomas said Wednesday. “I feel like it’s not my position to text or call him about that because not only is it not my spot to do so, but I definitely wouldn’t want that being portrayed as me trying to suck up to him or anything like that. I want to make my way on this team because of how I’m playing, not because of a relationship that any of us have with him.”
In fact, Thomas said one of the only times this year that Love has reached out was after the team dinner during the Florida swing, when the PGA invited players strictly off the points list (and Thomas wasn’t among the top 40).
Thomas has had, by any measure, a breakout season, after his win in Malaysia and four other top-3 finishes. Problem was, Ryder Cup points weren’t available in the fall, so Thomas enters this week 25th in the standings (even though he’s 14th in FedEx Cup points).
Still, the 23-year-old has been one of the leading contenders for a captain’s pick, given his youth, power, match-play experience and close relationships with team members.
“I’ve just tried to stop worrying about it,” he said. “I worried about it too much and really pressed because I wanted to make that team so badly. I’m just trying to free it up because it really is out of my control.
“If I play well and do everything I should, then I’ll have a chance to win the tournament and I’ll put myself in a better position.”
American players not already on the team are in the midst of a two-week audition for Love and his assistants. Thomas missed the cut last week in Boston, after stumbling on the back nine, but he wasn’t the only potential pick who failed to make a strong impression.
Love will make three of his four picks on Monday. Hoping to add the hottest player heading into the biennial matches, he will announce his final selection on Sept. 25, a few hours after the Tour Championship and five days before the first tee shot is struck at Hazeltine.