Justin Thomas: Ryder Cup is 'kind of a three-day hatred thing'

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Justin Thomas: Ryder Cup is 'kind of a three-day hatred thing'

Euro Tour

Justin Thomas: Ryder Cup is 'kind of a three-day hatred thing'

PARIS – World No. 2 Justin Thomas stoked the run-up to the 2018 Ryder Cup on Thursday after completing his opening round at the HNA French Open.

“Obviously I have never played a Ryder Cup yet so it is a little difficult to say what the atmosphere should be,” Thomas said. “But from the sounds of it, every one is great. You could say it is kind of a three-day hatred thing, or even a week-long hatred.

“We (the Americans) have a lot of great relationships with players on the European team, and the media as well, and vice versa. But I am friends with a lot of Europeans that for that tournament they will hate me, and that is just how it is.

“It is nothing personal. It’s just we take a lot of pride in our country and what we’re doing, just like the Europeans do. The fans need to be respectful, but there is nothing wrong with being passionate and getting into it. We only get one every two years so may as well make it count.”

Thomas shot an opening 1-under 70 in the $7 million HNA French Open, being held at Le Golf National, where the Ryder Cup will be contested in September.

He was given a warm welcome while playing alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Frenchman Alexander Levy.

“Maybe the reception I had today was because people appreciated that I had come to play, I’m not sure,” Thomas said. “It was certainly cool to come this far across the world and be made to feel this welcome.

“I felt there was nothing negative that was going to come from this trip.”

Paul Casey got into trouble ahead of the 2004 Ryder Cup when he was quoted as saying, “We properly hate them (Americans).” Casey issued an apology after the maelstrom his comments produced.

It remains to be seen if Thomas’ remarks inflame tensions ahead of this year’s match. The U.S. team defeated the Europeans 17-11 at Hazeltine in the 2016 Ryder  Cup. It was the Americans first win since 2008.

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