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Justin Thomas has excelled in match-play events in which he represents his country, earning 17.5 points over the years in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches.

But as 64 of the top golfers in the world vie for a $20 million purse at the WGC-Match Play event at Austin Country Club, which will bring an end to the World Golf Championships era after nearly a quarter-century, the reigning PGA Championship winner won’t be one of them.

In fact, minus Cam Smith, who isn’t eligible to play the event as he’s under contract with LIV Golf, Thomas is the only top-10 player in the Official World Golf Ranking not in the field. And he’s got a very specific reason for skipping it.

Justin Thomas is skipping the WGC-Match Play event because he doesn’t like Austin Country Club

Justin Thomas during the third round of the 2023 Valspar Championship
Justin Thomas plays his shot from the second tee during the third round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 18, 2023 | Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

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As mentioned, the World Golf Championships era will officially end when the final putt of the WGC-Match Play event drops. And the reason for that is that the PGA Tour and Austin Country Club, which has hosted the event since 2016, couldn’t reach an agreement on a contract extension. So instead of moving the event, the PGA Tour is merely scrapping the only match-play event on the schedule.

And Justin Thomas is likely happy to see it.

You see, the reason Thomas, who was one of the biggest names in the field at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook for the Valspar Championship, is skipping the Match Play event is that he simply doesn’t care for Austin Country Club.

“(Innisbrook) is a place I love. I really, really love the golf course. I just feel like I have a really good chance to win there if I go play. I just, I simply don’t feel that way about Austin Country Club. It’s nothing against the course. I’ve just, I’ve played it six times, and I’ve played it really bad five of them.”

Justin Thomas on skipping the WGC-Match Play

He continued by saying he didn’t want to risk any negative momentum as he prepares for The Masters, which begins April 6.

And Thomas is certainly spot on in his self-assessment. In six appearances at the WGC-Match Play, the current world No. 10 is 9-12-1. And five of those victories came in 2018, the only year he made it out of pool play.

JT was the No. 2 overall seed that year and went 3-0 in his group, defeating Luke List (2 up), Patton Kizzire (3&1), and Francesco Molinari (7&5). He knocked off Si Woo Kim (6&5) in the Round of 16 and then beat Kyle Stanley (2&1) in the quarterfinals. But he then lost to Bubba Watson (3&2) in the semifinals and then lost to Alex Noren (5&3) in the third-place match. Still, for a fourth-place finish, he earned a $559,000 check.

Outside of that, though, Justin Thomas certainly hasn’t fared well in this event. So it’s understandable why he’d want to skip it, especially with the year’s first major right around the corner. And one would think Augusta National is where we’ll see him next as he’s unlikely to play the Valero Texas Open.