Thomas teases Woods over return

Justin Thomas will reach 13 Tour titles if he triumphs at the Muirfield Village event.
Justin Thomas will reach 13 Tour titles if he triumphs at the Muirfield Village event.

WASHINGTON • After taking the 54-hole lead on Saturday in the Workday Charity Open, Justin Thomas then took a friendly shot at his good friend Tiger Woods.

"I'm glad that he's finally coming back out," Thomas said after shooting a six-under 66 for a 16-under 200 at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

"I think he was starting to get a little sassy. I was telling him he's scared to come out and play against all of us when he's sitting at home, just trying to give him a hard time."

Fellow American Woods, who has not featured on the PGA Tour since February's Genesis Invitational, announced his comeback last Thursday. The 15-time Major champion returns in this week's Memorial Tournament, also held at Muirfield Village. The 44-year-old is seeking a record 83rd Tour title.

His last public appearance was in The Match: Champions for Charity on May 24, where he and retired American football quarter-back Peyton Manning defeated Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady on the final hole.

Thomas, who played with Woods two days before The Match, said: "I haven't played with him in a while. Just because I've been busy. I've been playing, and he's been home.

"But we're excited to have him out. He looked great. I mean, it was a couple months ago and everybody saw how well he played in The Match."

Coincidentally, Thomas, 27, will be the youngest player to reach 13 Tour titles since Woods if he prevails at the Workday event. He led Viktor Hovland (66) by two shots while overnight leader Collin Morikawa, who struggled to an even-par 72, was third on 203.

World No. 5 Thomas has won two Tour events this season - the C.J. Cup at Nine Bridges in October and the Tournament of Champions in January - before the Covid-19 pandemic halted play in March.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2020, with the headline 'Thomas teases Woods over return'. Print Edition | Subscribe