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Ryder Cup 2020: Justin Thomas says Tiger Woods 'wants the best' for Team USA

Tiger Woods has played in eight previous Ryder Cups but will not be at Whistling Straits as he recovers from a car crash; watch the Ryder Cup on Sky Sports, with the Day 1 Foursomes beginning at 1pm on Friday

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Justin Thomas shares his experience of being a rookie at the 2018 Ryder Cup and plays down the significance of having six debutants in the Team USA side at Whistling Straits

Justin Thomas says the 2020 Ryder Cup will "mean a lot" to Tiger Woods, with the 15-time major winner not attending Whistling Straits as he recovers from surgery.

Woods suffered serious leg injuries after being involved in a car crash in February and has not played golf since. With eight previous appearances, he is a Ryder Cup veteran and was also a playing captain at the 2019 Presidents Cup.

Thomas, who is competing in his second Ryder Cup, has revealed that has recently met with Woods, who "wants the best" for Team USA.

"I got together with him a couple times last week," said Thomas ahead of the 2020 Ryder Cup, which starts on Friday, live on Sky Sports.

"More so just going over to see how he's doing as a friend, more than as a vice-captain or if he's even still considered that. I don't know. Yeah, he's so into it. He obviously wants the best for our team. He wants the best for all of us. It means a lot to him.

"I think people would be surprised - obviously you all saw in Australia how much it meant to him, but just the amount of work and the amount of hours he's willing to spend to make sure that he feels like the team is prepared and as ready to go as possible is pretty cool.

"At the end of the day he also understands that we're 12 of the best players in the world, and we know how to play golf. Sometimes less is more, so I think he's great at balancing that out. It was more, I'm here if you need me kind of thing."

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Team USA captain Steve Stricker suggested earlier this year that Woods could be a vice-captain at Whistling Straits depending on how his rehab progressed.

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Steve Stricker says his USA Ryder Cup team are fired up and ready to go ahead of the competition getting underway at Whistling Straits

But he says that is now not going to happen and instead he will be someone who he can "bounce ideas off" from afar.

"He's been, you know, obviously in my ear a lot and I call him pretty regularly," said Stricker.

"He's part of our Ryder Cup Team. He's part of what we do. He's been part of so many of these teams. So to bounce ideas off of him, all of us, players alike, I know some of the players went over to see him.

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Sky Sports News' Jamie Weir reports from Whistling Straits with just four days to go until the Ryder Cup gets underway, live on Sky Sports

"But I think it's just not a good time for him to be here physically because of where he's at in his rehabilitation and tough course to walk, right. Everybody is going to see it, from tee to green, it's difficult. So probably won't show up.

"But he's getting better and his focus and mine is on making a comeback to play again. We don't want to get in the way of that because we would all love to see him come back and play."

While Thomas will be playing in his second Ryder Cup, Team USA have got six rookies on their team.

Team Europe's Ian Poulter has said the rookies are set for "something they've never experienced before", but Thomas has no doubts they will be able to handle the occasion.

"I think when you look at your rookies and they are a two-time major champion in Collin Morikawa or a FedExCup Champion in Patrick Cantlay, and a gold medallist in Xander Schauffele. When you're looking at guys like that that are your rookies, that says a lot about your team.

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European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington says his team are well prepared for any complications this week

"I think at the end of the day you can dive as deep as you want into the pairings, into who's sitting, who's playing, but at the end of the day whatever team plays the best is going to win. We have 12 unbelievable players, they have 12 unbelievable players, and it's really just who's going to go out there and get it and who's going to go out and execute the best.

"I've watched many Ryder Cups on TV, and it's who makes the putts, who flips those matches, who grinds out the halves and who gets it done. I'd go to war with these 11 other guys and our captains like I'm going to do this week, and I have all the faith in the world in all the rookies.

"I think their experience proves that they are beyond rookies. It's going to be a fun week. It was a fun week for me in France just in terms of the atmosphere and experience and all, and I'm sure the fact that it's on US soil will help those nerves a little bit."

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