Talor Gooch 'definitely incorrect' over LIV Golf team claim, says Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas says Talor Gooch is “definitely incorrect” claiming that LIV Golf’s team element can be compared to a Ryder Cup atmosphere.
Gooch made the comment after being on the winning team along with Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez and Patrick Reed in last week’s second LIV Golf event at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon.
"I haven't played a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup, but can't imagine there's a whole hell of a lot of difference," said the American, one of the surprising LIV Golf defectors.
Unlike Gooch, Thomas has played in two Ryder Cups, picking up four points out of five and leading the Americans out in the singles on his debut in Paris in 2018.
He then claimed two-and-a-half points from four matches as part of a winning side last September at Whistling Straits, where he was also instrumental in firing up the home crowd over the three days.
“He's definitely incorrect saying that,” said Thomas, speaking at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian on the eve of the Genesis Scottish Open, of Gooch’s comment.
“I did an interview yesterday or two days ago at JP's (the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor) in Ireland and I compared the crowd there to a Ryder Cup.
“That was in no way, shape or form a shot at him (Gooch). I think he gave himself a shot enough just speaking a quote like that.
“Yeah, you can't compare those. I mean, there's no event on tour that's like the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup.
“Until you stand on the tee in France and there's, what, 10,000 people, and feel like you wouldn't even be able to get a golf ball on a tee because you are so nervous and your hands are shaking so bad, I probably wouldn't comment on saying that one is like the other because it's not.”
Along with Rory McIlroy, Thomas has been extremely outspoken against LIV Golf, with Ian Poulter and Branden Grace among four players from the breakaway circuit using an appeal process to secure spots in this week’s Rolex Series event in East Lothian.
“I guess I was surprised but I'm not near smart enough to know legally what that means and, to be perfectly honest, I probably don't care enough to say I'm super one side or the other,” said Thomas of the quartet having been added to the field.
“I can't honestly give an opinion because legally I don't know what's happening. It is what it is. At the end of the day, I'm just trying to go win a tournament and the fact that they are playing, so be it.”
Spaniard Adrian Otaegui and South African Justin Harding, the two other LIV Golf players in the line up, have been sent out together in one of the first groups on Thursday, with Poulter and Grace then in the same position on Friday.
How would Thomas feel about the possibility of playing with one of them later in the week? “If I know all four of them, then it will be fine. It will be easy,” said the PGA champion.
“But, even if I don't, I don't necessarily think we're going to be having any like gamesmanship or needling each other out there.
“At the end of the day, they are here for the same reason we are and that's just trying to play well and give yourself an opportunity to win the Scottish Open.
“If it so happens that it comes to that point and you have an opportunity to beat one of them to win the tournament, it might be a little better, but I'm sure they would say the same thing.”
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