Justin Thomas tells story of U.S. player intimidated by Tiger Woods’ presence

There is such thing as a Tiger effect. And, apparently, a Tiger countereffect.

In 2017, Tiger Woods was a vice captain for the U.S. Presidents Cup team. Captain Steve Stricker had assigned him oversee a pod of players, which included Daniel Berger.

Berger, at the time, had two PGA Tour wins under his belt but was making his cup debut and, as Thomas told Tuesday at the Masters, was slightly intimidated by Woods’ presence.

Berger, nicknamed “Boog,” was slated to play in the opening foursomes session alongside Brooks Koepka.

Per Thomas: “Boog went to, I don’t know if it was [vice captain] Freddie [Couples] or someone, and said, ‘Tiger can’t come with our group.’

“‘What do you mean?’

“‘I’m too nervous playing in front of him.’

“He’s like, ‘Dude, he’s on our team. Like, he’s our captain.’

“He’s like, ‘I can’t do it, you have to send somebody else with our group.’

“So, when we thought we had [Woods] to use to our advantage, to make the other team nervous, that actually made some of our own team members nervous.”

Berger and Koepka lost their match, 3 and 1, to Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace. Berger did, however, win his Day 3 fourballs match with Thomas and Berger cliched the cup for the U.S. in his singles win over Si Woo Kim.

Berger is not in the field this week, because of a back injury. He hasn’t played since last year’s U.S. Open.

Thomas also joked about how he could never have imagined having Woods be a vice captain for one of his teams and being able to boss him around, like having Woods make him a sandwich.

“I’m sure I got a couple words said back to me,” Thomas said of his order, “and he just put it on somebody else.”