Alabama alum and PGA Tour Pro Justin Thomas is getting set for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Thomas, who already has four top 10 finishes through six events this season, received a surprise visit from a good friend to encourage him to continue to play at a high level.

Alabama's six-time national championship winning coach Nick Saban met up with Thomas on the 16th tee at TPC Sawgrass and the pair partnered up to play the final few holes of The Players Stadium Course.

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Saban and Thomas have created a friendship built on mutual respect and a love for one another's craft. Thomas revealed that the two are close enough that Saban occasionally sends him text messages to encourage him to play at a high level.

"I know things are either really good or really bad if I'm getting a text from Coach Saban because he's not a big texter," said Thomas. "So it's either like a, 'Hey man, I saw you really haven't been playing well, just want you to know I'm here for you,' or, 'Was was watching you last week and was proud of you.'"

Thomas won The Players Championship in 2021 by shooting a final round 68. He enters the 2022 tournament with the sixth best odds to win the weekend event.

Alabama's spring practice gets underway on Friday, making Monday's practice round likely Saban's final opportunity to play golf until a short summer dead period. Thomas helped Saban find the green on the famous island green Par 3 Hole 17 but that didn't keep him from losing a number of balls at the Pete Dye designed course.

For those looking to keep up with Thomas this weekend, Golf Channel will have coverage on Thursday and Friday beginning at 11 a.m. CT and NBC will have Saturday and Sunday coverage starting at 12 p.m. CT.

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