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Justin Thomas reacts to Si Woo Kim shushing the audience, saying “I was pretty pissed off”

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Even though Team USA’s victory against the Internationals at the Presidents Cup was lopsided (17.5 to 12.5), there was still plenty of action to watch.

That’s the appeal of match play, a mano-a-mano game that may seem quite intimate and offers plenty of room for dramatics. Players get enthused, feed off the audience, and upset one another, making for an entertaining show for onlookers.

And for that reason, the initial singles match on Sunday between Justin Thomas of Team USA and Si Woo Kim of the international team was so exciting.

The Internationals had a four-point deficit going into the competition’s final day. Victory was still attainable even if it seemed implausible.

One of Team USA’s uncontested MVPs was Thomas, who entered Sunday’s singles match with a commanding 4-0 record. Kim was among the Internationals’ best players, despite having a relatively modest 2-1-0 record.

Their match was the most fascinating of the day, not only because it lasted full 18 holes and they combined for nine birdies, but also largely because of the amusing histrionics that were on show.

When Thomas sank a long birdie to go 2-up through 4 (cue the clinched fist pump! ), it was clear that the game was intense right away. Then, Thomas became passionately and obviously irritated at having to make a short putt on hole No. 9 that Kim had refused to give.

The two exchanged birdies during the first part of the back nine, but things truly changed when Kim sank a putt to save par on the 15th after matching the match with a birdie on the 14th. and made the audience quiet.

When Thomas noticed Kim, he was already moving quickly toward the next tee and seemed to be getting ready to fight.

Thomas birdied 17 to level it, and Kim birdied 16 to take a one-shot lead. On hole 18, Kim made a birdie, which was accompanied by a lengthy, low fist pump. Thomas missed his next putt to tie, giving Kim a one-up win.

Both players put on quite the show, and Thomas later acknowledged that Kim’s moment of shushing affected him.

“Honestly, at the time, I was pretty pissed off,” he said. “It’s one of those things, I think when you’re in the moment, when you’re on the other side of it, it’s something that gets you motivated, gets you pumped up a little bit. I mean, he hit the shots and made the putts better than I did the last three holes or, really, the last nine holes when he needed to. So I can say whatever I want about it, but he beat me. So he has the upper hand on me.”

Kim said that his response to Thomas’ vigor was motivated by Patrick Reed’s infamous “shush” incident from the 2014 Ryder Cup.

“Yeah, JT give me fist pump, and then I had to do it,” he said. “And I had to make it, and I made it. Then, like, yeah, I had to do something. I think that give me more energy.”

Even though Thomas lost his singles match, he still finished with a rather impressive 4-1 record and the team won.

He said, “We won the Cup. So that’s all that matters.”

Original article posted on Golf.com

Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton

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