‘Rub It in His Face’: Justin Thomas Jokes About Tiger Woods After Winning the 2021 Players Championship

Published 03/15/2021, 4:30 AM EDT
Mar 14, 2021; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Justin Thomas celebrates with the trophy after winning The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Justin Thomas created history at The 2021 Players Championship by posting an incredible victory in four rounds. Thomas was not the favorite to win it at the end of 36 holes, or even 54 holes, but he drew inspiration from Tiger Woods at the right time to clinch his first Players Championship trophy. 

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The tournament was supposed to end up in Lee Westwood’s favor. He led after 54 holes and headed into Sunday as the clear favorite. But everyone knew danger loomed over the Englishman on the final day, but many thought it would come via Bryson DeChambeau and not Justin Thomas. 

Thomas shot scores of 71-71 in his first two rounds and it didn’t help him gain much. However, the American shot 64-68 in Round 3 and Round 4 respectively, to match the lowest final-36 hole score in The Players Championship History!

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How a mental image of Tiger Woods propelled Justin Thomas to victory

Though Tiger Woods was not present at TPC Sawgrass for The 2021 Players Championship, a lot of golfers carried his advice on their minds. Woods has been a wonderful mentor for many professionals on the tour, and Justin Thomas is one such person who’s had the privilege of learning from him.

“I was replaying what Tiger told me a lot in my head. He likes to give me a lot of grief, especially when he’s not here, and, like Bryson said, we’re all pulling for him, and I’m so glad to hear everything has been going well with him,” Thomas said after the win.

Mar 14, 2021; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Justin Thomas reacts on the 18th green during the final round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Just like Bryson DeChambeau at Bay Hill last week, Thomas was unable to hold in the emotions after his victory. But it is natural and quite touching when tour pros break into their genuine feelings after a win. Here’s more on Thomas about Woods.

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“Part of me wishes he was here so I could rub it in his face a little bit more!” Thomas expressed. “But no, I’m happy and I hope he’s happy, and I always appreciate his help. He told me just to stay patient. There’s been a lot of other stuff, but it’s between us, and it’s great.”

Thomas put on a striking clinic in the final two rounds to scale the peak. With his victory, Justin Thomas became only the fourth player to win The Players Championship, a Major, the FedEx Cup, and a World Golf Championship tournament. 

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Arjun Athreya

1826 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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