At 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Justin Thomas was sitting in an airport in Chile, fresh off a tie for 12th at the Web.com Tour’s Chile Classic.
By 8 a.m. Monday, the former Alabama All-American was sitting in Washington (after a 5:30 a.m. connection in Atlanta), waiting to meet President Barack Obama.
Forgive Thomas if he was a bit wiped out at 10 p.m. Monday at home in Goshen, Ky., by the time he stepped off his third plane of the day.
“My passport is getting pretty stamped up,” said Thomas, who was in Colombia for the Web.com Tour opener three weeks ago and is headed to Panama on Sunday.
But the whirlwind day was well worth it for Thomas, who turned pro last spring after his sophomore year. With his teammates from the 2012-13 season, he reunited in the nation’s capital for a visit to the White House to celebrate the school’s first national championship in men’s golf.
Of course, Alabama also had an in with Obama. The 44th president, like many of his Oval Office predecessors, enjoys hitting the links. He told the team that he had played a few holes last weekend – and that he needs some help out of the sand. The players suggested to him that he should start “grinding on that with coach (Jay Seawell).”
The Tide came prepared to help Obama with his short game, presenting him with a set of stamped Titleist Vokey wedges.
“I was just sitting there thinking, ‘With all of those teams there, there’s only one men’s golf program. And that’s us, because we were the best team in college golf last year,’ ” Thomas said. “I am getting goosebumps talking about it now.
“He had a bigger connection with us because he plays our sport; he seemed pretty excited to come in and meet us.”
Thomas also enjoyed reuniting with his former teammates, many of whom he had not seen for months because of his blossoming pro career. His former roommate, Scott Strohmeyer, was the only member of the championship squad who couldn’t make the celebration, as he is preparing to play in a tournament.
“I miss those guys a bunch,” Thomas said. “I wouldn’t trade the decision (to go pro) for anything, but if I could somehow have both . . .”