Thomas says Tiger on top of Cup plans

Justin Thomas (r) is used to late night texts from his Presidents Cup captain Tiger Woods (l).
Justin Thomas (r) is used to late night texts from his Presidents Cup captain Tiger Woods (l).

Justin Thomas is no stranger to waking in the early hours, but it's usually due to texts from his US Presidents Cup captain Tiger Woods rather than from jet-lag.

Ahead of this week's Royal Melbourne tournament, when the US will look to stretch their dominance over the International team with an eighth straight victory, Thomas revealed the obsession of his playing captain.

Woods is the first playing captain since 1994, when three-time US Open winner Hale Irwin led the Americans to a commanding win.

World No.4 Thomas, who is struggling to recover from their 26-hour haul from the Bahamas to Melbourne, said Woods had left no stone unturned.

"You definitely get more texts between one and four am than any other captain, that's for sure," said Thomas, who played in the 2017 Presidents Cup and 2018 Ryder Cup teams.

"He takes it very seriously and he wants to be a captain that has a great winning record.

"He doesn't want there to be a lot of unknowns and I think that's something that he's done very well with."

Thomas said the "Tiger factor" would help the US team in foreign territory as his legend topped his stature as team captain.

"He's Tiger Woods - everyone, it doesn't matter where you go in the world, people are going to root for him," Thomas, who won the 2017 PGA Championship said.

"Obviously, they would rather the people on their own team play better, but yeah, I think just the fact that who is he speaks for itself."

US team rookie and world No.7 Patrick Cantalay said 15-time major winner Woods could handle the dual role and lead his team to victory.

Cantalay, Thomas, Woods and Patrick Reed, who is set to be the US team villain after cheating allegations last week, played their first practice round together.

"I think if anyone is suited to do, it Tiger is, and he's definitely on top of everything and he's got a lot of responsibilities this week," the 27-year-old said.

"Tiger is playing great - his game looks really good.

"I'm sure he won't have too much difficulty doing it all this week, and like I said, if anybody's up for the challenge, it's him."

Australian Associated Press