Despite dropping his singles match to Si Woo Kim on Sunday afternoon at Quail Hollow, Justin Thomas still holds a 17-5-3 record in Cup matches. More importantly, after the Americans’ five-point Presidents Cup victory, Thomas has now been part of four winning Cup teams, including three of the Presidents variety, in five national-team appearances.
There’s no doubt about it: Thomas is the U.S. team’s new Captain America.
But unlike the old one, Thomas just doesn’t like shushing – or at least not when his opponent is doing it.
“Honestly, at the time, I was pretty pissed off,” Thomas said of Kim’s shushing of the home crowd on the par-4 15th hole on Sunday.
The match was already contentious, as a couple of holes earlier Kim had failed to concede a putt inside of 3 feet to Thomas, who made it anyway but was clearly miffed walking off the green. Thomas, no stranger to animated match-play interactions, responded at No. 15 by making a big par save and followed it with a delayed yet violent fist pump.
Kim matched Thomas to remain tied and quickly lifted his finger to his lips.
“I saw that Patrick [Reed] did it before (shushing the crowd at the 2014 Ryder Cup),” Kim said, “and yeah, J.T. give me fist pump, and then I had to do it. And I had to make it, and I made it. Then, like, yeah, I had to do something. I think that give me more energy.”
Added Thomas, who was already walking to the next tee before looking back to witness Kim’s shush: “It's one of those things, I think when you're in the moment, when you're on the other side of it, it's something that gets you motivated, gets you pumped up a little bit.”
The extra motivation, however, wasn’t enough for Thomas, who couldn’t convert a 9-foot birdie putt on top of the 10-footer that Kim made at the last. Kim’s make earned him the 1-up win over his fellow Players champion, who had beaten him, 6 and 5, at the 2018 WGC-Dell Match Play.
“I mean, he hit the shots and made the putts better than I did the last three holes or, really, the last nine holes when he needed to,” Thomas said. “So, I can say whatever I want about it, but he beat me, so he has the upper hand on me.
“But we won the Cup, so that's all that matters.”