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Justin Thomas eyes Leeds play-off as he bids for third US PGA

Justin Thomas may be looking for a third US PGA Championship in his hometown of Louisville, but he’ll also have an eye on events in an entirely different sport nearly 4,000 miles away.

Thomas and Ryder Cup teammate Jordan Spieth are part of a star-studded minority investor group in Leeds United, who face Norwich in the Championship play-off second leg at Elland Road on Thursday night.

The 8pm shot worked well for Thomas, who was given a tee time for the opening round at Valhalla, where he will bid to lift the Wanamaker Trophy for the third time after wins in 2017 and 2022.

“I’m really excited about my Thursday morning class,” Thomas said. “That worked out nicely for that 3 o’clock game.”

Asked if he had any advice on how Leeds could improve their woeful play-off record – they have failed to gain promotion in all five of their previous attempts – Thomas added: “My advice is very different from anything that would be likely to be helpful or useful. for them, but I know I really enjoyed learning a lot more about the sport.

“Billy Foster (Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddy), I think between him, Jordan and myself, we’ve definitely become a lot closer over the last year and he’s given us a lot of information and knowledge as far as Leeds and us – sent videos from the games.

“At the moment I like the fact that he is playing at Elland Road. I know they’re a tough team to beat over there, so I’m excited to see.”

Thomas turned pro a year before the US PGA was last held at Valhalla in 2014, and although he failed to qualify a decade ago, he was on site as a seven-year-old spectator in 2000 when Tiger Woods at beat Bob May in a play. – torn off.

The energy that week was crazy

Justin Thomas in the 2000 US PGA at Valhalla

“I would say this tournament on this course, watching Tiger in person here in 2000, is a big part of my love for professional golf and the desire to win majors and golf tournaments,” added Thomas.

“Obviously I don’t remember much, being seven years old. But I remember I was probably like inspired, I was very amazed. I just haven’t been to anything that big. I mean, the energy that week was crazy.

“As you know, Kentucky and Louisville sports fans are sports fans, and we never have golf tournaments, let alone major championships, and when it comes here, they love it.

“It’s just that the energy was crazy that week and I just heard the roar in person. You’re on one side of the course, you hear it on the other side of the course.

“As a seven-year-old, that’s pretty cool to hear in person. Watching Tiger and Bob May duel and how it all ended and being a Tiger fan, it was as perfect a week as I could have imagined.

“Not that you know what you want to do when you’re seven, but I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to play golf.”