Thomas, Kisner make friendly wager on ’Bama-Georgia title tilt
The Maui News
Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas plan to take more than just their golf clubs to next week’s Sony Open on Oahu.
Kisner, a four-time All-American at the University of Georgia, and Thomas, who was a two-time All-American at Alabama before turning pro after his sophomore season, made a wager Sunday ahead of today’s College Football Playoff National Championship between the two Southeastern Conference juggernauts — the loser has to wear the opposing team’s jersey with his name on the back.
“Yeah we’re into it. We’re going to have it (the jersey) in the bag on 17 and whoever loses gets to wear it to the green,” Kisner said after the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course.
Thomas initially threw down the gauntlet, calling out Kisner in a video posted on Twitter.
“There’s word around the tour that you’re a pretty big Bulldog fan, not that I know myself, but I think we should have a little wager on this game,” Thomas said.
Kisner accepted the challenge and said Sunday that he plans to watch the game with some fellow former Bulldogs on tour — Russell Henley, Hudson Swafford and Brian Harman.
“We’ll all watch it together for sure,” Kisner said. “I think it’s a cool bet and it’ll be a good game so we’ll see how it goes.”
Thomas didn’t know where he was going to watch the game, but liked his school’s chances of claiming its 17th national title in football.
“I feel good,” he said. “If they play well, we’ll get it done.”
Thomas’ caddie change
Justin Thomas is “very excited” to team up with legendary caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay for next week’s Sony Open while his regular looper heals from a right foot injury.
“I was scrambling yesterday morning trying to figure out what I was going to do next week,” Thomas said after Sunday’s final round at the Kapalua Plantation Course. “(I was deciding) if I wanted my dad or if I wanted someone or this or that and (it) just kind of came up and I figured I would ask him.
“It was worth a shot.”
Mackay, who caddied 25 years for Phil Mickelson before splitting in June, was at Kapalua for his new job as an on-course reporter for NBC and the Golf Channel. Thomas said Mackay confirmed Saturday afternoon that he could join him on Oahu.
“I’m very excited, it will be fun,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ regular caddie, Jimmy Johnson, has spent weeks in a walking boot after injuring his foot in October at the CIMB Classic. Johnson tried walking two rounds at Kapalua, but was replaced by Thomas’ father, Mike, on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s a hard walk outside the ropes and with a 50-pound backpack that’s even harder,” Mike Thomas said next to his son outside the scoring trailer Sunday. “But to spend that time with your son is hard to beat.”
Thomas joked Sunday that he and Jordan Spieth asked Mackay, 52, when the last time he caddied the Sony Open, which he replied was in 1992.
“That was before either of us were born, so I would say the course has changed a little bit since then, but it’s such an easy course to learn,” Thomas said. “It’s all right in front of you, so it will be good. I’m just excited to get back there and play.”
Trophy with Maui flair
The PGA Tour has handed out its fair share of classic and sometimes strange trophies to champions over the years, but this year’s prize at the Sentry Tournament of Champions dares to be different.
Makai Glass owner Randy Schaffer and his team of six workers in Haliimaile spent over 100 hours sculpting the tournament’s latest award, which was given to Dustin Johnson for his eight-stroke victory Sunday. The glass sculpture features a breaking wave and whale’s tail as well as Sentry Insurance’s corporate colors.
“I’ve looked at every trophy in the history of the PGA and tried to create a more artistic design,” Schaffer said Sunday. “Not that they’re not artistic, but we wanted to put that Maui energy in it.”
The local company founded in 2010 and co-owned by Justin Brown was approached by Sentry about five months ago about creating the trophy. Makai Glass typically creates large installation pieces and artwork for luxury homes, Schaffer said.
Three trophies were commissioned by Sentry, which is in its first year as title sponsor. The two other trophies will be placed at the Kapalua Plantation Course and the sponsor’s headquarters in Wisconsin, Schaffer said.
“I’m biased because my team and I created it, but I would consider it to be one of the most unique trophies in the history of sports, especially for the PGA Tour,” he said. “It was really cool for the new sponsor to create such a new style that is very untraditional.”
Schaffer said Sentry plans to continue using his company throughout the sponsor’s five year contract with the tournament.
“We’re definitely really honored and blessed that we’re on such a world stage,” he said.
The PGA Tour and its tournaments generated more than $180 million for charitable causes in 2017, surpassing last year’s record amount by approximately $14 million, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced Sunday.
The total includes donations made by tournaments on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and PGA Tour-China.
The announcement brings the all-time total generated for charity by the PGA Tour to $2.65 billion.
“I would imagine. I don’t know, I can’t remember.”
— Dustin Johnson
when asked if a short memory is one of his greatest strengths as a golfer