Justin Thomas Goes From The Sidelines To Rejoining PGA Tour’s Advisory Group

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Justin Thomas expressed faith and trust in the six players serving on the PGA Tour policy board, content to spend the bulk of his time worrying about his golf game.

One month later, he’s now part of the action.

Thomas was among 16 players appointed to the Player Advisory Council, which is designed to advise and consult with the board and with Commissioner Jay Monahan. Thomas, who has 15 wins and two majors in his nine years on tour, also was on the PAC in 2020, the year golf shut down for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomas felt like it was good to become part of the process.

“It’s not that I wasn’t already involved or cared,” Thomas said Monday. “I think it’s easy for some people to assume that someone in our position — whether you want to call that a top player or whatever — is not listening to anybody or what the membership says. I don’t think that’s the truth.

“The goal is to get the product as good as possible and make the PGA Tour as good as possible. That’s what matters,” he said. “That’s what I’m hoping for and what I’m here for. I’m thinking maybe being involved and hearing everybody out can help.”

This year’s PAC includes two players, Lanto Griffin and Sony Open winner Grayson Murray, who attached their names to a letter in December demanding full details of proposals from private investors the tour was considering for a new commercial enterprise.

Scottie Scheffler, British Open champion Brian Harman, Max Homa, Mackenzie Hughes, Sam Burns and Kevin Streelman were also on the PAC last year.

The six players on the board selected Streelman and Camilo Villegas to run for PAC chairman. Whoever wins that election — voting ends Feb. 27 — will join the board in 2025.

Thomas was on the ballot to be chairman in 2020. He wasn’t interested this time around.

“To be perfectly honest, there are other PGA Tour players better for that role,” Thomas said. “I would take it seriously, but I don’t think I’d be as invested time-wise, and I don’t think that’s fair to the tour or the players.”


The absence of world ranking points for LIV Golf is starting to show itself when it comes to the majors, particularly the Masters.

Nine players with LIV Golf who played in the Masters in 2023 are not eligible to return to Augusta National in April. That includes Mito Pereira (runner-up in the 2022 PGA Championship) and Joaquin Niemann, who qualified last year through the Tour Championship.

The others seven all qualified last year as being in the top 50 in the world ranking. Of those seven, only two players — Louis Oosthuizen at No. 134 and Abraham Ancer at No. 154 — are inside the top 250 in the world ranking.

Niemann had three straight European tour finishes in the top five, including a victory in the Australian Open, to go from No. 87 to No. 64. He now is at No. 66. The top 50 on March 31 get into the Masters.

Niemann, with his LIV Golf schedule, has only three open dates on the European tour because of the four LIV events before the cutoff — the Kenya Open, the Singapore Classic and the Indian Open, all offering minimal world ranking points.


Rory McIlroy has said he plans to play a heavy schedule going into the Masters, the one major keeping him from the career Grand Slam, and he’s on pace to match his busiest run to Augusta.

McIlroy in the last week has announced he will play the Cognizant Classic at PGA National in Florida, where he has not been since it was the Honda Classic in 2018; and the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, the week before the Masters.

“My big thing about Augusta is just to go in there playing well,” McIlroy told Golf Digest earlier this month in Dubai. “The weeks before are important just to get me feeling like I’m in good form. This year, in fact, I’m going to play more before the Masters. It will be my ninth or 10th event of the year. Previously, it’s been my sixth or seventh.

“I’ll hopefully be a bit sharper and know exactly where my game really is.”

Pebble Beach is his third start of the year, coming off a victory in the Dubai Desert Classic. He also plans to play at Riviera, Bay Hill and The Players Championship. That would mean eight tournaments before getting to the Masters.

McIlroy also played eight times before the Masters in 2018 and 2021. In 2018, he added Pebble Beach and the Valspar Championship (missing the cut in both). In 2021, he added Torrey Pines and Phoenix.

The last two years he played six times before the first major of the year.


The PGA Tour Champions is adding a unique tournament to the schedule next year that will combine the best of the 50-and-older golfers with some of the NFL’s biggest stars.

The James Hardie Pro Football Hall of Fame Invitational will be April 4-6 in 2025 at the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Florida. The field will have 78 senior golfers and 26 football greats with a $2.2 million purse. Format details are still being worked out.

It will be held a week before the Masters and on the course that previously hosted a Charles Schwab Cup playoff event.

“PGA Tour Champions features the legends of golf competing each week and this event offers the unique opportunity for them to tee it up alongside iconic football players, creating an unforgettable experience for both players and fans,” said Miller Brady, president of PGA Tour Champions.


The LPGA Tour has started the year with hometown victories. Lydia Ko is a member at Lake Nona, where she won the Tournament of Champions. Nelly Korda lives in Bradenton and won the Drive On Championship. The next LPGA event is in Thailand, which might be a good omen for Atthaya Thitikul … The last seven winners on the PGA Tour have been ranked outside the top 50 when they won, dating to Collin Morikawa (No. 20) when he won the Zozo Championship in Japan. … The R&A and Sky Sports have extended their contract through 2028 for coverage of the British Open, Women’s British Open and elite amateur events. … Keita Nakajima had access to the Korn Ferry Tour and to the European tour from winning the Japan Golf Tour money list. He started with Europe and tied for fourth last week in Ras Al-Khaimah. Nakajima, a former No. 1 amateur, is playing Bahrain and Qatar the next two weeks.


Matthieu Pavon became the third Farmers Insurance Open winner in the last 20 years to have a lower average score on the South Course than the North Course at Torrey Pines. The others were Jon Rahm (2017) and Tiger Woods (2003 and 2006).


“It’s going to be the greatest meeting of player and sea ever at Pebble Beach.” — CBS announcer Jim Nantz on the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am attracting its strongest field as a signature event.