It’s certainly no secret that Michael Jordan loves to gamble on the golf course. We’ve heard some epic stories over the years featuring some crazy dollar amounts but while we don’t quite know a figure on this particular story involving PGA Tour star Justin Thomas, it’s still pretty freaking awesome.
You see, Thomas actually used to caddie for MJ as a teenager at the Kentucky country club where his father, Mike, has long been a teaching professional. But one day, young JT actually got to tee it up with the six-time NBA champ and helped him win a few bucks.
Justin Thomas’ father, Mike, has been a teaching pro at Harmony Landing Country Club in Kentucky for three decades
For those unaware, Justin Thomas is actually a third-generation professional golfer. His grandfather, Paul Thomas, who just recently passed away at the age of 89, turned pro at age 17 and while he never found success on the PGA Tour, he did play the PGA Championship in 1960 and 1961 and later made the cut in three U.S. Senior Opens. His main gig was as a club professional and he spent a large portion of his career at Zanesville Country Club in Ohio.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Mike Thomas also became a club professional and has spent the last three-plus decades at Harmony Landing Country Club in Goshen, Kentucky (about 20 miles northeast of Louisville), which is where Justin Thomas learned the game of golf.
Michael Jordan would play Harmony Landing every year before the Kentucky Derby
With his father being the head pro at Harmony Landing, Justin Thomas obviously spent a lot of time at the club working on his game and such but would also caddie from time to time. Gotta give Mike Thomas credit for showing his son what work is, right?
One of the more famous bags young JT carried was that of Michael Jordan, who would visit Harmony Landing with a group of friends every year before the Kentucky Derby. Shocking, right? Who would’ve thought that MJ would be interested in such a big gambling event? But I digress.
Thomas started caddying for MJ and his group when he was 13 but just a few years later, he actually joined the group for a round…well, most of one anyway…and apparently helped Jordan win a little money.
Justin Thomas helped Michael Jordan win some cash at the age of 16
By the time Justin Thomas was 16, he was one of the top junior players in the country and even made the cut at the 2009 Wyndham Championship, becoming the third-youngest player to ever make the weekend at a PGA Tour event.
A few months earlier, however, Michael Jordan made his annual trip to Harmony Landing and used young JT to make a little cash, a story he once told to Golf.com.
“When I was 16, I went out with the group and they started on No. 3 for some reason. I was riding with MJ. When we got to the first hole, he said, ‘Go get your clubs.’ He told them, ‘Alright, I’ve got the little man. We’ll take whoever wants us.’ There’s eight people. He wouldn’t tell me the game; he said I didn’t need to hear that.
“We played the last seven holes and I made four birdies. We drummed ’em pretty good. That was fun. He just made me feel comfortable. I’d played in some big national tournaments, but that was the biggest deal I’ve ever played in. It was pretty cool. We had a pretty memorable day that we still talk about.”Justin Thomas on playing golf with Michael Jordan
While Thomas wouldn’t disclose an exact dollar amount, he did say that his tip “was a little bigger that year.” Almost the perfect story.