Phil Mickelson Challenges, Then Loses to Former Alabama Golfer Justin Thomas
Former Alabama golfer Justin Thomas has enjoyed a whirlwind of a year since winning a national championship with Alabama in 2013, but this week might be the highlight of a successful, young career.
Shortly after qualifying for his first U.S. Open, Thomas received a text message from one of the sport's biggest names.
“I’ve got Rickie (Fowler),” Phil Mickelson texted him last Monday, according to the Golf Channel. “Get a partner and we’ll play.”
That's right. Mickelson reached out to the Web.Com Tour member to play a practice round at Pinehurst No. 2 before the start of the U.S. Open. The two had been trying to arrange a round together for some time, so the five-time major winner promised him the opportunity if he qualified for the year's second major.
After Thomas finished in a tie for first at the Columbus qualifier, he needed to pick a partner for the practice round. He reached out and lined up the best young player in the game, Jordan Spieth.
The two played against each other in college - Thomas winning National Player of the Year, Spieth winning the NCAA Championship over Alabama - but were now set to team up against Mickelson and Fowler. The group went out on Tuesday afternoon with Thomas and Spieth claiming a 1-Up victory over the two PGA Tour veterans.
“It was very subtly intense,” Thomas said. “We definitely know he’s going to want a rematch. It was probably the first of many.”
For a guy that's seen an NCAA Championship, a Walker Cup victory, his first event as a professional, and now his first U.S. Open appearance all one year, the future seems pretty bright for Justin Thomas.