LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Justin Thomas, the second-ranked golfer in the world, was back where it all began Friday, playing host to some of the top junior golfers in the country. The St. Xavier graduate was meeting and taking pictures with a lot of the participants in this weekend's Strategic Communications/Justin Thomas Junior Championship at his home club, Harmony Landing Country Club. The Juniors play 36 holes Saturday with the final 18 holes coming on Sunday. Thomas said he has very fond memories of his time as an AJGA player and was excited to be able to give back, especially at the course he grew up playing.
Coming off a season in which he won the FedEx Cup title, the PGA Championship and was named PGA Tour Player of the Year, Thomas is off to a terrific first-half of the 2017-2018 wraparound season. The almost 25-year-old has won twice, leads the FedEx Cup points list again and is also tops in the Ryder Cup standings.
And he continues to have the services of the only coach he's ever known, his father Mike, who says he is semi-retired from his job as head club pro at Harmony Landing, thanks to the generosity of his membership. Mike still gives lessons as a teaching pro but spends more time at tour events with Justin in the last year or so at his son's request. But during Justin's clinic today, Mike told the story of his young son not being so sure of his dad's role.
"When he was about 11, Justin came home from a U.S. Kids tournament and a lot of the foreign players had their team of five or six around them all the time," said Mike. "And he came home and said dad, 'I want to get a coach'. I said 'you got one'. He said, 'no I mean a real coach'."
He's managed to juggle the roles of father and coach pretty darn well.
"I'm blessed to have the relationship I have with Justin," Mike continued. "When I'm out on tour and we're working together, I'm not his father, I'm his coach. I'm also his friend."
"We've gotten a lot closer the last two years, not that we weren't before," said Justin. "I consider him one of the boys."
Thomas will head back to Tour life next week. He'll be teaming with Bud Cauley for the second straight year at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans and will follow that with appearances in the Wells Fargo and the Players Championship.
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