Justin Thomas getting European exposure ahead of Open Championship, Ryder Cup

Justin Thomas (Getty Images)

Justin Thomas, ranked No. 2 in the world, is in France this week to compete in the European Tour’s French Open.

Thomas will take on Golf National and a strong field this week as the European Tour hosts its third tournament in the Rolex Series. Thomas likes the course, and even got a little inside knowledge on the layout last week during the Travelers Championship.

“It’s a great golf course. You know, I’d heard some things from guys in the past who have played it, and I talked to Rory (McIlroy) a little bit about it,” Thomas said Wednesday during his press conference. “I played with him the first two days last week at the Travelers, so we were talking some about it. So it’s lived up to the hype that everybody said. It’s a tremendous golf course.

“It’s a great test of golf. It’s all right in front of you. It’s not like there’s any hidden tricks or anything like that. It’s just a difficult golf course that you just really have to kind of plot your way around and execute the golf shots.”

While Thomas isn’t a regular member of the European Tour, he saw this as an opportunity to get acclimated overseas ahead of next month’s Open Championship, and this fall’s Ryder Cup which will be played at the same course.

“I’s a great experience for me. It obviously has some additional intentions to it, you know, with the Ryder Cup this fall, but it just worked out in the schedule to where I really wanted to come here, and it worked out well to do so,” Thomas said. “I wanted to play against a great field, and which it looks like we’re going to. It’s a tremendous field this week, and especially playing in one of the Rolex Series events.

“It’s a big deal in the European Tour, and again, I’m very happy and lucky that you all are letting me come over here and crash the party a little bit this week. But yeah, it should be a fun week.”

Even with the Ryder Cup being hosted by Golf National this fall, Thomas is the only contending American in the field this week. He wasn’t surprised, though, because he knew the French Open didn’t fit into everyone’s schedule.

“It’s a schedule thing. You know, and everybody has their schedule,” Thomas said. “You know, there’s plenty of guys that are playing this week. In terms of getting preparation for the Ryder Cup, you know, I know a handful of guys that are coming over before the British, so it’s not like they’re not going to see the course beforehand.

“But for myself it just was — I think when we were kind of mapping out my schedule throughout the year leading up on the British, or leading up to the Open, I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And then playing the Travelers last week, an event that I love, I was like, well, do I want to take three weeks off, do I want to go play Quicken Loans, what do I want to do? And I was looking at it, and I’m like, well, the French Open is that week. It’s at a course where the Ryder Cup is going to be. It’s a great field. It’s an opportunity for good world ranking points.”