While that may still be true, the 26-year-old Thomas surprisingly found himself in a leadership role prior to the pair's opening match at Royal Melbourne. As the tandem walked to the first tee, it was Thomas who provided Woods with some unexpected motivation.
"I didn't even think about saying this the night before, or the week before, or anything, but it just kind of hit me," Thomas recalled on the "No Laying Up" podcast. "I kind of put my arm on his shoulder and I was like, 'Hey, dude,' and he was like, 'What's up?' I'm like, 'I want to see that player that I looked up to my entire life growing up. That's the Tiger I want to see this week.'"
In response, the 15-time major winner apparently smiled, winked, and said to Thomas: "Let's go."
"I don't know why I said it, I don't know why it came to my mind," Thomas said about his motivating words. "But it was a pretty cool moment and one that I'll remember for sure."
Thomas' words worked. The pair earned the U.S. team's lone point during Thursday's session and Tiger was the only player to finish the week with an undefeated record at 3-0. Thomas posted a respectable 3-1-1 record as the United States secured a two-point victory over the International team in December.