Justin Thomas was the only controversial pick of American captain Zach Johnson, a vibes-over-performance selection that outraged a segment of golf fandom. Keegan Bradley, who was passed over for a selection, bemoaned the fact that he’s a golf “outsider” — the implication being that Thomas’ cool-kid status got him onto the team.
Thomas, in his first comments since arriving in Rome for this week’s Ryder Cup, insisted that he isn’t paying attention to the social media static.
“I definitely haven’t kept the receipts,” Thomas said. “I don’t feel like there is any good that can come from that. After I was picked … doesn’t matter what it is, especially when it comes to people and stuff online. Everybody’s got an opinion and theirs is right and everybody else’s is wrong, at least that’s what generally seems to be. So for that exact reason, I stayed away from social media and stayed away from stuff online because I knew nothing good was going to come from it.”
That’s probably wise. Not everyone can be Deion Sanders, vacuuming up hate and transforming it into fuel. Thomas will have enough to deal with this week in attempting to break the Americans’ 30-year drought in Europe.
Thomas is on the team in large part because of his success in 2018. While the rest of the United States was getting waxed in Paris, Thomas went 4-1-0 on the week. He brings energy and spirit to the team locker room, a characteristic that Johnson will be relying on in hostile territory.
Asked what he recalled about watching the Europeans celebrate in the Paris loss, Thomas didn’t hesitate. “It’s a pretty crappy feeling but it’s definitely motivating,” he said. “You’re just kind of sitting there and watching the joy, the champagne, everybody cheering, like yeah, it’s not fun to be on the other side. I would prefer to not be again.”
Thomas, who will almost certainly be paired with Jordan Spieth once again, and the rest of the Ryder Cup will tee off at 1:30 a.m. ET Friday morning.