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Justin Thomas Leeds United

Leeds and Louisville! Justin Thomas eyes up two big home games in PGA week

You might think that playing a major on home soil is enough to think about, but Justin Thomas will still be keeping a close eye on his favourite English football team this week

 

It may be one of the biggest weeks of the golfing calendar, but Justin Thomas will still be keeping a watchful eye over Leeds United.

The American invested in the Championship club in 2023 along with good friend Jordan Spieth and the Yorkshire side are just two games away from moving back up to the Premier League.

Following a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their playoff semi-final with Norwich City, the two teams will meet again at Elland Road in Leeds on Thursday to determine who reaches the final at Wembley.

The timing is perfect for Thomas, who revealed he has an early tee time on the first day of the PGA Championship at Valhalla, meaning he can watch the football in the afternoon.

“Yeah, I’m very excited about my morning tee time on Thursday. That has worked out nicely for that 3 o’clock game,” he said during his press conference on Tuesday morning.

Playoff victories are something that Thomas has in his locker, including one over Will Zalatoris to claim his second PGA Championship crown two years ago at Southern Hills.

He might not be of much help to Daniel Farke’s side ahead of their crunch clash with Norwich, but Thomas did admit that his knowledge of football (or soccer as he might call it) has grown over the last year.

“My advice is very different than probably anything that would be useful or helpful to them, but I know I’ve really, really enjoyed learning a lot more about the sport,” he said.

“I mean, Billy Foster, I think we’ve – between him, Jordan and I, we’ve definitely become a lot closer over the last year, and he’s given us a lot of insight and knowledge and in terms of Leeds and whatnot and sending us videos from games.

“But, yeah, I mean, right now I like the fact that they’re playing at Elland Road. I know that they’re a tough team to beat there, so I’m excited to watch.”

Justin Thomas Jordan Spieth Leeds United

Justin Thomas: PGA Championship ‘very special’ on home turf

Not many people get to play in their hometowns, and very few get to play at home at a major championship.

Thomas will enjoy and endure those feelings this week, at a venue where he watched an incredible play-off between Tiger Woods and Bob May more than two decades earlier.

“It’s very special,” the man from Louisville, Kentucky said. “I would say this tournament at this golf course is a lot of reason I feel my love for professional golf and wanting to win majors and golf tournaments and watching Tiger here in 2000 in person.

“No, it’s just crazy how fast it’s gotten to this week from when it was announced and being fortunate enough to win this tournament and now actually being here. So I’m happy it’s here.”

Playing with that home support can have its disadvantages, though.

Thomas admits that he already piles the pressure on himself, so trying not to add anything extra on his shoulders throughout the week might be a challenge.

“Well the good news is I have a pretty easy time putting a lot of pressure on myself already, so that shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment,” he said with a smile.

“But I don’t know. Kind of what I told everybody is I’m not really sure exactly how I’m going to feel. Like I’ve never experienced it. I’ve never played a professional tournament, let alone a PGA, in my hometown, so I’m sure it will be some new feelings, some good feelings. Just came out yesterday and enjoyed it.

“I think just going to take it in and try to use it to my advantage. Use the energy, the support to try to kind of get me going and push me along as the week goes.”

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What do you make of the Justin Thomas-Leeds United bond? Can JT win the PGA Championship for a third time? Let us know your thoughts with a post on X, formerly Twitter!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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