'I Made Four Birdies In Seven Holes And Helped Pay For My First Car' - Justin Thomas Shares Awesome Michael Jordan Story On The Late Show

The pro golfer told host Stephen Colbert a story about the time he teamed up with Jordan for the final part of a round aged just 15

Main image of Justin Thomas at the 2024 Valspar Championship - inset photo of Michael Jordan at a Charlotte Hornets game
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Thomas let off some steam after a so-so week at the Valspar Championship by attending New York Knicks v Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, later hopping over the road to appear on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.' As you do.

While he was unable to claim a personal victory at the Copperhead Course (finishing T64), Thomas was courtside - along with wife Jillian Wisniewski - to watch the Knicks carry on their strong campaign via a 124-99 win.

Hours later, the Kentucky-born golfer was sharing an awesome story involving another famous basketball entity - arguably the most famous of them all, Michael Jordan.

Having followed retired Supreme Court Justice, Stephen Breyer as a guest on Colbert's comfy-looking sofa, Thomas felt compelled to admit he won a serious amount of money while playing golf alongside MJ as a teenager.

The two-time Major winner was teed up to discuss the story by The Late Show host - who produced a photo of a baby-faced Thomas strolling along the fairway of the course where Thomas’s father, Mike, was the head professional, near Louisville. The now 30-year-old revealed he was "probably 15 years old" in the picture before going on to give context.

Thomas said that Jordan would always attend the Kentucky Derby, close to where the pro golfer grew up, and wanted to play golf whenever he was in town. As a result of Mike Thomas and Jordan both knowing Junior Bridgeman - a former NBA player as well - the six-time NBA champion would play golf at their local club.

Justin Thomas lines up alongside his father Mike ahead of the first round of the 2023 PNC Championship in Florida

Justin Thomas and his father Mike

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After admitting he was just lucky enough to be around at the same time, Thomas answered Colbert's question on money being put down.

He said: "I didn't play the first couple of years. My dad's course was very old school - no tee times, no rules really, just go play as a sixsome or whatever, no caddies. So I would be the caddie for the group.

"First couple of years, I'd help them out. And, finally, in that third year - the last year they came out - he would call me 'Little Man', so he said 'Little Man, go get your clubs because you're going to play the last seven holes with us.'

“He knew I played golf, but he didn’t know that I was... decent, and nobody else definitely had any idea. He goes 'I'll take Little Man and whoever wants us.' Everybody else is just looking at this kid who is 111lb."

Colbert asked if Jordan put any pressure on him, to which Thomas replied: “No, I just felt pressure playing with Michael Jordan. He was like, ‘Alright, I’ve got him.’ ”

Asked about the result, Thomas chuckled as he answered: “I made four birdies in seven holes and helped pay for my first car!"

But what about the stakes? Did Thomas know at the time. The 15-time PGA Tour winner insisted he did not but learned after the round the scale of his achievement.

“I didn’t know the amount," Thomas said. "[Jordan] said to everybody 'don’t tell him [Thomas] what we’re playing for because he might… (freak out) … I won 3-4 grand.

"The assistant at the time was helping get stuff together and everyone came in from 36 holes and my dad’s like giving me a hard time. ‘You need to tip him.’ I’m like, ‘Tip who?’ He said, ‘Matt, the assistant.’”

The smallest denomination in teenage Thomas' pockets at the time was $100 bills, so that's what Matt found himself collecting.

Thomas continued: “My dad was like, ‘I can believe you just tipped him $100.’ That’s all I had,” Thomas said.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.