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Justin Thomas is hoping to round off a Major-winning season with victory in the FedEx Cup, and his bid to do that gets under way with the first of the Playoffs in this week's FedEx St. Jude Championship.
However, while attention turns to that, the build-up has been overshadowed by a lawsuit brought against the PGA Tour by LIV Golf players challenging their suspensions. Thomas, though, had some strong words for the players who have chosen to do so.
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
Speaking ahead of this week’s tournament, the current PGA Champion said: “Those guys were given an opportunity to go play and just go play. You can have your cake, but you don't need to eat it, too. And they got their fair share of a large, large amount of cake and go eat it on your own means. You don't need to bring it onto our tour. I think we keep it how it is and we can continue to build an unbelievable product that's given a lot of us like myself a great platform to just keep improving it.”
Hearings for the antitrust case brought by the players will start at the end of September prior to a summary judgement in March 2023, with a full trial expected to begin in a year. With the issue set to rumble on for the foreseeable future, Thomas sees the LIV Golf saga as a distraction. He said: “It’s unfortunately just taking up the golf world a little bit and taking away from great storylines. I think I saw Scottie [Scheffler] came in and did his interview yesterday and I'm sure he got asked about what was going on, and he's had one of the best seasons of all time. I'm sure there weren't as many questions about that as there should have been.”
One issue that has been dealt with is the temporary restraining order that was part of the lawsuit filed by three of the players – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones. A hearing on Tuesday ruled against the trio teeing it up in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. However, that wasn’t something Thomas was too concerned about.
He said: "I was checking updates here and there, but it was just something to where again, I had zero impact, I couldn't control an outcome, I wasn't really worried about it. I wasn't super one way or the other, I just was worried about myself. Obviously as a player on the PGA Tour and the ruling going in favour of the PGA Tour, I'm in favour of that. But again, I let that deal with that and I just try to worry about playing golf.”
Regardless of Thomas’ focus, he admitted that the ongoing power struggle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is still a hot topic. He said: “You can go stand on the putting green and people are talking about it, whether it's caddies or players. You can't avoid it.”
Thomas’ attention will now turn to the matter at hand – this week’s TPC Southwind tournament and the opportunity to position himself to cap a remarkable season with his second FedEx Cup win. The American is eighth in the standings and begins his bid to emulate his 2017 success on four-under par, six behind leader Scottie Scheffler.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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