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Justin Thomas: Not taking shot at Talor Gooch for Ryder Cup comment

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Justin Thomas may have laughed off Talor Gooch’s comparison, but he said that he wasn’t taking a shot at him when he mentioned in a post-round interview earlier this week that the packed house at the JP McManus Pro-Am felt “pretty close to a Ryder Cup today.”

Gooch was ridiculed online over the weekend when he said, in the wake of his team’s victory at the LIV Portland event (which earned them another $750,000 apiece), that the atmosphere felt like one of the frenzied team events.

“I haven’t played a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup,” Gooch said, “but can’t imagine there’s a whole hell of a lot of difference.” Even his LIV teammates, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed, who have played in several U.S. team events, seemed to snicker at the thought.

A few days later, Thomas participated in the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland, which featured some of the biggest names in the sport, including Tiger Woods. Tens of thousands of hearty fans turned up at Adare Manor, site of the 2027 Ryder Cup, and Thomas said he received a standing ovation walking to nearly every tee and green over the 36-hole event.

“I’m just blown away by what today is, and what this weekend and week has been,” he said earlier this week. “It’s going to be impeccable. The golf course is beautiful, seems like it’s great for spectators. I mean, it feels pretty close to a Ryder Cup today.”

A few media outlets took that comment as a direct shot at Gooch, but Thomas, while adding that Gooch was “definitely incorrect saying that,” insisted that he wasn’t poking fun.

“That was in no way, shape or form a shot at him,” Thomas said Wednesday at the Scottish Open. “I think he gave himself a shot enough just speaking a quote like that.

“Yeah, you can’t compare those. There’s no event on Tour that’s like the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup until you stand on the first tee in France and there’s 10,000 people there and I feel like I wouldn’t even be able to get a golf ball on a tee I’m so nervous and my hands are shaking so bad. Yeah, I probably wouldn’t comment on saying that one is like the other because it’s not.”