Justin Thomas makes his first trip to Australia. Image: Getty
World number 5, Justin Thomas, says he would have Tiger Woods in the US Presidential Cup team "100 times out of 100 & # 39; & # 39; if he plays fit and well, since speculation continues around Woods leading up to Royal Melbourne in December.
Thomas, who is in South Korea this week to play, told the media that Woods had selected all players who had already been selected for the Cup against the international team, and was looking for feedback on his own position.
Woods is recovering from an arthoscopy on his left knee, although he will be playing again in Japan next Monday. He was not among the top eight Americans who qualified, but as captain he can choose himself as one of the four & # 39; captain choices & # 39; to form the team of 12.
Thomas is happy to leave it with Woods, who has played in eight Presidential Cup teams, including the previous two (1998 and 2011) on the famous composite track of Royal Melbourne.
"If he is healthy and plays well, I would get him 100 out of 100," Thomas said today. “He knows his body; he knows himself well enough to make that decision. He asked me about it and I told him exactly the same thing. For him it's all about health, and for everyone they have to make sure their game is ready and their body is ready. It is not just something that you only do to do. If he chooses himself, it is only because he is ready and he plays well. "
Woods has had a fantastic last 12 months, including his famous Masters victory in April, but his knee injury made the situation worse for Royal Melbourne. Originally selected as a US captain, he thought he would not play, but his rejuvenation as a player changed all that.
For 26-year-old Thomas, who grew up after Woods, it is a highlight in the career. "I mean, if you told me when I was a kid that I could play in a Presidential Cup team with Tiger Woods as my captain, I probably would have fainted or something. It's a bit surreal and I have to step back to see what happens. "
Thomas made his Presidential Cup debut in New Jersey in 2017, where he was one of the better American players in a strong win over the Internationals. But he has never been to Australia, or even to Australia, let alone Royal Melbourne, a fact that he has set aside. "If it was as simple as just to come quickly, I would have made the trip 100 percent," he said.
But he has already heard a lot about what he can expect from Woods, a devotee of the Melbourne sand belt tracks, and from Fred Couples, Woods' assistant in Melbourne. "The only thing I have heard is how much I am going to love it, from Tiger and Freddie who say I will love the course and everything about it," he said.