News & Tours

'Just stupid': Justin Thomas' dad reacts to reports he's no longer instructing his son

September 06, 2023

Justin Thomas with his father and swing coach Mike Thomas at the 2023 RBC Heritage.

Andrew Redington

Mike Thomas could only laugh. Having just completed a four-hour practice session with his son, two-time major winner Justin Thomas, on Wednesday morning, he was amused to learn that his role as his son’s teacher had changed.

News reports Wednesday suggested that Justin had struck out on his own, parting ways with putting coach John Graham and severely restricting the role of his father, a PGA Master Professional, as his swing coach. A post by Justin Thomas on Instagram showing his work alone on the range at The Grove in Nashville, Tenn., only fueled speculation about the professional status of the father-son tandem.

“You’re kidding. That’s just stupid,” the elder Thomas said by phone from his home in Florida when told of the rumors. “That’s what some people in the media do. It’s ridiculous. I just left Justin. We worked all morning.

“But, listen, if he did fire me, and it was for the better, then what’s the problem? I guess they have to have something to talk about.”

Mike Thomas said that he and Justin began “going for less” one-on-one instruction last year so that Justin could do more of his own work on his swing. But since May they have picked it up a bit as Justin has sought to incorporate swing changes. Mike Thomas said he spent several days with his son in Tennessee and then “left him alone. There are things a player needs to do himself; he’s been working really hard.”

He added that his son sends him video every night to review.

As for the status of Graham, the putting coach, Mike Thomas did not want to comment, but it has been reported that Justin broke with Graham after missing the cut at the British Open.

A 15-time PGA Tour winner, Justin Thomas recently was one of captain Zach Johnson’s wild-card picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team that travels to Rome later this month. Thomas, 6-2-1 in the Ryder Cup, was selected despite a season in which he struggled, particularly in the majors. He was 15th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings and failed to advance to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, missing by one place at 71st in the points standings.

Ranked 25th in the world, Thomas has not won since last year’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills. He is scheduled to compete at next week’s Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif.