Tuesday 15 October 2019

Thomas taken aback

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas

Former world number one Justin Thomas has been taken aback by the Northern Irish hospitality ahead of the Open Championship and plans to take advantage of even more from Rory McIlroy.

The game's oldest major is being staged at Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951 and has generated enormous excitement, with tickets for the championship days selling out in record time and more than 200,000 fans set to attend over the week.

"I had somewhat of an idea of what a big deal it is but I think I probably don't respect it or understand it enough," Thomas said. "It's been how many years? 68 years. That's unbelievable.

"I don't know what to expect but I also have an idea of what the crowds might be like the first couple of days. It will probably be pretty berserk out there, but a lot of fun.

"It's just cool because you feel so gracious to be here. Everyone is saying, 'Thanks for coming here'. Like what else would I do? It's the Open Championship. What, am I going to skip it?"

Thomas has planned a practice round with course-record holder McIlroy as he tries to get to grips with Portrush.

"I asked him about a month and a half ago because I knew that he was probably getting pulled in a lot of different directions and getting asked to play," the 2017 US PGA champion added. "Rory is someone I'm a little bit closer with."

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