Golf-Thomas seeks Ocean Course insight from Woods

FILE PHOTO: Apr 30, 2021; Palm Harbor, Florida, USA; Justin Thomas reacts after his shot on the 1st hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament. / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina (Reuters) - Tiger Woods may not have much experience playing the daunting Ocean Course that will host this week's PGA Championship but that did not stop Justin Thomas from reaching out to his friend for pointers ahead of the year's second major.

The Ocean Course, which at 7,876 yards will play as the longest major in history, is exposed to coastal weather and the potential for strong crosswinds could put a premium on course management and accuracy off the tee.

"I just asked him about the course just in terms of preparing and getting ready," Thomas, speaking during his pre-tournament news conference on Tuesday, said of his talk with 15-times major champion Woods.

"He pretty much hit the nail on the head. It's long, there's a lot of crosswinds, and have a good short game. Bodes well at most places."

Woods, who is recovering at home after suffering career-threatening leg injuries during a one-vehicle crash in February that resulted in a three-week hospital stay, finished 11th at the 2012 PGA Championship in his only event at the Ocean Course.

World number two Thomas has never competed on the Ocean Course but is among the favourites this week as he is in the midst of a strong season in which he has 11 top-25 finishes in 14 events, including a triumph at The Players Championship.

Thomas played 18 holes at the Ocean Course on Sunday and nine the last two days, which he said gave him an opportunity to see the golf course in two completely opposite winds.

"It could be one of those weeks where you could get a late-early or early-late draw where one could be great, one could be a lot worse," Thomas said about how weather changes over the course of a round could play a larger role than usual.

"But at the end of the day you definitely are going to have to strike your ball solid and consistently to be able to control the flight and the distance to at least keep it on the golf course at some times but be able to hit fairways and greens."

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

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