Why Tiger Woods once gave Justin Thomas the cold shoulder when it came to Masters prep

Why does Tiger Woods, when healthy, spend so much time working out and working on his game? Justin Thomas says the answer is simple.

“I always tell him, it’s easy for him, because he doesn’t have any friends,” Thomas joked. “He has no one else to hang out with.”

Thomas joined co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz on this week’s Subpar Podcast to discuss his rise to the top of the golf world, relationship with Woods and more. He said he’s learned a lot from Woods — especially how he practices and goes about his work — but just how much knowledge he can extract from the 15-time major champion often depends on the week.

“It’s interesting to see how when we first became as close as we did, he was hurt, and he was a lot more willing to help me and tell me stuff, and that’s not quite as much the case anymore,” Thomas said. “It really depends on the timing. I have to be smart on when I ask.”

Thomas said the first time he went to Woods’ house was a couple of years ago, right before the Masters. “He’s like, ‘Why don’t you come over and we’ll chip and putt?'” Thomas said.

When Thomas got to Woods’ home, Woods told him he wasn’t going to play in the Masters (he missed due to injuries in 2016 and 2017) but hadn’t made it public yet. He told Thomas not to tell anyone until he announced it himself. The backyard session turned into a valuable experience for Thomas — but only for that year.

“And so he’s just teaching me so many shots around the greens, and holes I’m going to use them on and how to hit different bunker shots and why I can’t do this and why I can’t do that,” Thomas said. “And I was like, Man, that was unbelievable. And then the next year, I’m like, ‘Hey, let me know if you want to do some short-game work this week, I’m around.’ He’s like, ‘I’m playing this year.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know, but let me know if you want to practice.’ He’s like, ‘I’ll see you in Augusta.'”

“I’m like, OK,” Thomas said. [Laughs]

We can respect Woods’ decision. Thomas said he can too. You can check out the full Subpar episode below.

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.