US Open: Rory McIlroy praised by Justin Thomas for ‘doing the best for the PGA Tour’ | Golf News

“There’s nobody that, I think, acts better, acts more humble and more grounded for what they’ve done and who they are than him”; Justin Thomas praises Rory McIlroy ahead of the US Open; watch all the action live on Sky Sports Golf from 1pm on Thursday

Last Updated: 13/06/22 9:56pm

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Justin Thomas says he has been saddened by the recent developments surrounding LIV Golf and reiterated his desire to continue playing on the PGA Tour

Justin Thomas says he has been saddened by the recent developments surrounding LIV Golf and reiterated his desire to continue playing on the PGA Tour

Justin Thomas has praised Rory McIlroy for the leadership he has shown in recent weeks on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy has taken on the ‘leadership mantle’ following the defection of a number of PGA Tour players to the Saudi-backed LIV Invitational Golf Series, with the first event taking place at the Centurion Club in St Albans last week.

The Northern Irishman said he understood why players were making the switch, but warned of the dangers of purely pursuing cash and said the PGA Tour had done the right thing in suspending the rebels.

He also took a swipe at Greg Norman – CEO of the LIV Series – after winning the Canadian Open on Sunday where Thomas had to settle for third place.

Rory McIlroy appeared to take a dig at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman after he surpassed Norman's number of PGA Tour wins with his 21st title at the Canadian Open

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Rory McIlroy appeared to take a dig at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman after he surpassed Norman’s number of PGA Tour wins with his 21st title at the Canadian Open

Rory McIlroy appeared to take a dig at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman after he surpassed Norman’s number of PGA Tour wins with his 21st title at the Canadian Open

Thomas, 29, who won the PGA Championship last month, believes a lot of the players look up to the 33-year-old, who now has 21 PGA Tour victories to his name, as a result.

“There’s nobody that, I think, acts better, acts more humble and more grounded for what they’ve done and who they are than him,” said Thomas, who has claimed 15 PGA Tour wins.

“I would hope [the guys look up to him]. I know he’s accomplished a lot more than I have. He’s been out here longer. He’s been more successful.

Thomas hugs McIlroy after the Northern Irishman won the Canadian Open

Thomas hugs McIlroy after the Northern Irishman won the Canadian Open

“I remember being a rookie and moving down to Jupiter, and he was out at Bear’s Club. Being the person I am, wanting to learn, going up to him and saying, hey, I’d love to play sometime, introduced myself, and he’s like, any time, and gave me his number, and we kind of hit it off. We’re very similar personalities.

“For me, I definitely think that other people should look up to someone like him. I do in some aspects. There’s definitely other parts that he’s still a competitor and someone that I’m trying to beat, but there’s still a lot of things that as a leader that he does really well, and I think that he’s very honest, like I am.

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“I’m not going to sit in here and feed a PC answer or just say something to maybe please a certain crowd. If you feel a certain way, you feel like you should say that.

“That’s what he does, and he does it for the best reasons and hopes that it’s going to be the best for the PGA Tour.”

Thomas won his second PGA Championship in May

Thomas won his second PGA Championship in May

‘You have to love what you are doing’

Thomas was also asked for his advice for any young golfers dreaming of playing on the PGA Tour in the future

He said: “I think my dad said it best. Just was talking to him about not only everything going on with golf, but just going on in the world. I mean, my dad is someone very old school, just he loved to work. He’d work 80 hours a week as a club pro, and he would pull the carts down in the morning, close the shop up in the afternoon, and he’d be the first to say, he’s like, I made no money, but I just love to work.

“You have to love what you’re doing is basically what I’m saying. There’s no amount of money that you could get that if you don’t love or enjoy what you’re actually doing, the amount of money you have – you’re still going to be miserable. You’re still not going to enjoy it.

“Although you might be miserable in a bigger house or a nicer car, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is going to be any better.

“I think it’s what’s very important for juniors and everybody growing up is you’ve got to be passionate about it and play for the right reasons and just want to get better and strive for that and keep working at it.”

Thomas expresses his disappointment with those who have turned their back on the PGA Tour but acknowledges their freedom of choice to do so

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Thomas expresses his disappointment with those who have turned their back on the PGA Tour but acknowledges their freedom of choice to do so

Thomas expresses his disappointment with those who have turned their back on the PGA Tour but acknowledges their freedom of choice to do so

US Open ‘is a grind’

Thomas is looking forward to challenging for a third major title when he plays in the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline this week, but admits he has a hard week ahead.

“You always know US Open is a grind,” he added. “That’s why I love it. I think that’s why a lot of guys love it. It’s one of the few times of the year you’re kind of playing more in relation to par, and par is a good score. Driving the ball is going to be very important this week.

“I think, like any major, especially US Open, scrambling and salvaging and making those putts for par can kind of be the momentum builders.”

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