Alabama coach Nick Saban surprises PGA Tour golfer Justin Thomas at The Players Championship media day

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Justin Thomas is hoping to defend his The Players Championship title next month at TPC Sawgrass. Luckily for Thomas, a person who knows all about title defenses visited him at the course on Wednesday: Alabama football coach Nick Saban. 

Saban surprised Thomas, an Alabama alum, by appearing at the course on media day and playing the final three holes with him. Over their time together, Saban prepared Thomas for the 2022 Players Championship – which runs March 10-13 – by delivering  “the same speech I give our team.” 

“When you win a championship they say you have to defend,” Saban told “You don’t have to defend. No one can take away what you did last year. Just go have fun and do it again.

“There’s no such thing as defending a title, in my opinion. If they took it away from you, it would be different. But you’re always going to be a Players champion and you’re always going to have that special place in the locker room, so just have fun and win it again.”

Thomas would be wise to follow Saban’s advice, as he became the only college football coach to lead his team to back-to-back national championships in the BCS and CFP era in 2012. 

The two first got to know each other when Thomas visited Saban’s office during an Alabama recruiting visit. Saban described Thomas as a “shy little puppy dog” at the time, but their relationship progressed after the coach practiced at the Crimson Tide golf facility more often. 

Now, Thomas attends an Alabama home game each year and the two golf…


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