Why Justin Thomas would never agree to be mic’d up on the PGA Tour
Last month, golf fans were treated to The Match: Champions for Charity, a wildly popular exhibition that saw Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson compete with NFL legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at Medalist in Florida. One of the keys to that event’s success was having the players mic’d up, so viewers at home could listen to the banter between the players and the broadcast team.
With the PGA Tour set to return at the Charles Schwab Challenge after a three-month shutdown, many observers wondered whether the Tour would take a note from the Match II and mic up players during tournaments. CBS announced this week that a few players would indeed wear microphones at Colonial. But Justin Thomas will definitely not be one of them.
On Tuesday during his pre-tournament press conference, Thomas was asked if he’d be willing to wear a microphone inside the ropes on Tour, and he answered with a resounding no.
“I would not wear a mic, no,” Thomas said. “That’s not me.”
The World No. 4 explained that he already feels like he’s wearing a microphone at Tour events given the increasingly encroaching TV cameras.
“I mean, as close as those mics are on the tees and the greens and as close as I get to boom mics during competition anyway, I basically feel like I am mic’d up,” Thomas continued. “I can’t say some stuff that I usually say anyway.”
Ultimately, he feels that anything said on the course between players and caddies should not be distributed for public consumption.
“What I talk about with Jimmy and what I talk about with the guys in my group is none of anybody else’s business, no offense,” he said. “If I want somebody to know what I say, I’ll say it in a press conference, I’ll say it in an interview or put it out on social media, whatever it is. But I personally am not one that would care to get mic’d out there.”
Whether or not Thomas ever ends up wearing a microphone during play, we will get to see it happen for the first time in PGA Tour history at the Charles Schwab. And the idea has already been tested in limited fashion the LPGA and European Tours.
One other new initiative at the Charles Schwab Challenge will be the PGA Tour’s “confession cam.” The Tour will set up a tent somewhere on the course at Colonial, and during play pros will be able to voluntarily enter and answer a printed question into an unmanned microphone.
Interestingly, Thomas has been mic’d up on the golf course to a live TV audience very recently. He served as an on-course reporter during the Match II, and received rave reviews for his debut as an analyst.