Among the many unique aspects of the first major championship of the year at Augusta National is the annual tradition of former champions either teeing it up or being on the grounds all week, and their willingness to share their acquired knowledge with the next wave of golf’s superstars.
While the likes of Fred Couples, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize and Ian Woosnam utilizing their exemptions, but not necessarily threats to contend, they’re free with their advice, but other past champions are a little more tight-lipped, as Justin Thomas revealed on Monday.
Asked by CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis during the “Masters on the Range” broadcast who has given Thomas the best advice over the years, Thomas gave a thoughtful answer that included a funny piece concerning Woods. Thomas’ interview begins at the 38:30 mark in the video, which can be viewed on Masters.com.
“It’s tough, I’ve been fortunate to talk to a lot of people who are very, very helpful,” he said. “I think Tiger’s past the point of giving me information anymore since he’s healthy again, but I got a lot of great stuff from him (in the past).
“Just from playing, that’s truly the way you can learn the most. Although it’s a very ‘course knowledge’ course, everybody knows where you have to hit it on (No.) 2, everybody knows where you can’t hit it on (No.) 4 — you could go through the entire course; you have to make hay on the par-5s. At that point, it’s just about golf, about executing.”
Balionis followed up by saying, “What I took from that is you don’t know who gave you the best advice, but it definitely wasn’t Tiger Woods.”
“He gave me a lot of great advice,” Thomas said. “I know I’m not getting any more until he’s done playing. I know that for sure.”
Thomas and Woods played a practice round on Monday as well, alongside Couples, and speaking to reporters after going around Augusta National’s second nine, Thomas reiterated what he told Balionis.
“Tiger probably isn’t as, I mean I’m not trying to be mean, but isn’t as helpful I would say as Freddie,” Thomas said. “He just doesn’t, at this point he doesn’t quite give as much information.
“I’ve picked Tiger’s brain enough around this place that he’s probably told me everything he’s going to tell me. But I’d ask Freddie little things about stuff, where he lays up to different pins. From playing, I try to pay attention to how guys do it to where I feel like I have a pretty good idea about where I need to go.”