But, at the same time as admitting that, he also called for people to stop listening to gossip about the car crash in February that has ruled the five-time winner out of this week’s event.
“Playing the practice rounds with him for sure,” said Thomas in reply to be asked what he was missing about Woods being at home in Florida as he recovers from the serious leg injuries he sustained in the single-car accident in Los Angeles.
“We texted Friday morning, and he said it's kind of starting to set in. He's bummed he's not here playing practice rounds with us, and we hate it, too.
“I'm very, very lucky that I somehow got thrown into that practice round group with Tiger and Freddie [Couples] the last four years or whatever it is, especially around this place, I just follow them around like puppy dogs. Wherever they go, that's where I go after it. If they hit chips from somewhere, I go hit chips from there.
“It's no coincidence they have been so successful here, but they are also just great guys to be around. Definitely miss that part.”
Police looking into the cause of the crash say they have concluded their investigation but are unable to release the findings without the 15-time major winner’s permission.
Woods, who was released from hospital last month, was the sole occupant in his vehicle which struck a median strip, rolled and came to a rest on its side near a steep road.
“It's just astonishing the things people say when they hear one thing and they start saying this happened and, oh, my gosh, did you hear this? And I'm just like it's not true,” said Thomas of various rumours about what may have happened.
“First off, if it is true, wait to either hear it from him or someone on his team. It's not fair. God forbid something terrible came out about the accident.
“Everyone cares and everyone wants to know, but, at the same time, you need to be respectful and understand that you don't need to be throwing around false claims or anything like that.”