Players of Justin Thomas’ ilk have reputations that precede them, especially for those who are truly fans of the game. As it turns out, Michael Jordan is a true fan of the game.
With sports gambling becoming legalized in the United States, the Action Network writer — and occasional fill-in caddie on the PGA Tour — Jason Sobel has been talking with current and former PGA Tour pros to share some of their favorite gambling stories.
When talking to the world’s third-ranked golfer Thomas, a story from his adolescence didn’t disappoint.
Already a solid junior golfer at age 16 and on his way to bigger and better things, the diminutive Thomas was tapped by the best basketball player on the planet to be his partner in a match during Kentucky Derby weekend at Harmony Landing outside of Louisville.
Justin Thomas on teaming up with Michael Jordan as a teenager — and making enough birdies to help them both win some money.https://t.co/lQ07CtN1Kx
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) September 10, 2018
“When I was 16, I went out with the group and they started on No. 3 for some reason,” Thomas said. “I was riding with MJ. When we got to the first hole, he said, ‘Go get your clubs.’ He told them, ‘Alright, I’ve got the little man. We’ll take whoever wants us.’ There’s eight people. He wouldn’t tell me the game; he said I didn’t need to hear that.
“We played the last seven holes and I made four birdies,” he said. “We drummed ’em pretty good. That was fun. He just made me feel comfortable. I’d played in some big national tournaments, but that was the biggest deal I’ve ever played in. It was pretty cool. We had a pretty memorable day that we still talk about.
“He always took care of everybody tipping, so let’s just say my tip was a little bigger that year.”