PARIS (Reuters) - Justin Thomas is making his fourth appearance at a Ryder Cup, but Friday will be the first time he steps inside the ropes for the United States at the biennial event against Europe.
Thomas, the son of a Kentucky club pro, was only 11 when he attended the 2004 Ryder Cup as a young spectator at Oakland Hills in Michigan.
Four years later he had clubhouse access when the event was held at Valhalla in Kentucky.
And in 2010 he made it to Celtic Manor in Wales, where he got to play the half the course after representing the U.S. at the Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland.
“That was pretty sick,” Thomas, speaking at Le Golf National on Wednesday, said of his experience in Wales.
“Seeing the players, a lot of guys that are my team mates this week, it’s pretty cool.
“This is something that I’ve been looking forward to, something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was a little kid.”
Although Thomas, 25, is a major winner after capturing the 2017 PGA Championship and was ranked world number one for four weeks this year, he lacks the star wattage of some of his team mates and can struggle to keep his cool.
“I’m going to need really, really good control of my emotions this week because I’m an emotional player and I can sometimes get up-and-down,” he said.
He is the only American player with four competitive rounds under his belt at Le Golf National, where he finished equal eighth at the French Open three months ago.
Thomas reiterated comments from other players that the course allows the use of driver only sparingly, which could mean that many tee shots end up in similar spots.
“I think that’s just what this course is,” he said.
“It doesn’t favor one team or the other. It just favors whoever is playing the best.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond