Justin Thomas on LIV Golf Invitational Series being the talk of the sport — ‘It’s sad’

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Justin Thomas didn’t play a single hole Monday during the practice round of the U.S. Open at The Country Club, but it didn’t matter. There were still plenty of questions for him, most of them about the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which Thomas himself said has been the talk inside the sport the past few weeks.

“You can’t go anywhere without somebody bringing it up,” Thomas said. “It’s sad. This is the U.S. Open, and this is an unbelievable venue, a place with so much history, an unbelievable field, so many storylines, and yet that seems to be what all the questions are about. That’s unfortunate.”

Thomas, however, was more than willing to answer questions about LIV and share his thoughts on the Saudi-backed golf league.

“Selfishly, I don’t want anyone to leave,” Thomas said. “All I can do is plead my case. But everybody out here is a grownup, they can make their own decisions.”

The No. 5-ranked player in the world said he wasn’t surprised by players’ departure to LIV, especially Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, but that he was saddened by the fact that players’ decisions to leave could hurt the PGA Tour.

“They were talking it up not only to a lot of their peers but other people,” Thomas said. “It’s astronomical money that they’re throwing at people. Everybody has a price for everything.”

The Tour has suspended 17 players who competed in last week’s inaugural LIV event. The USGA has allowed those players to play in the U.S. Open if they qualified or have an exemption. When asked about how he foresees the majors being affected by the fracturing of the sport, Thomas said he was conflicted.

“I just want to play against the best in the world and I want a chance to try to win majors,” Thomas said. “With that being said, the best players in the world need to be here, but at the same time I don’t necessarily want guys to be able to do both.”

Thomas acknowledged that he can’t control that decision and that the majors are in a tough spot going forward. And though the emergence of LIV could negatively affect the state of the PGA Tour, which Thomas said he always wanted to be a part of growing up, he emphasized again that he’s tried to separate the decision from the person who is making it.

“You can disagree with the decision. You can maybe wish that they did something differently,” Thomas said. “But for people at home to say that Dustin Johnson is now a bad person, that’s not fair. … Do I wish he wouldn’t have done it, and am I a little sad about it? Yeah, but it is what it is. You’ve just got to move on and make the best out of what you’ve got.”