WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Usually considered a solitary endeavor, the game of golf can be something for pairs, as well. Now, two prominent figures in the game are coming together to create something special -- and important.
There are a number of lasting images that will always represent the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Two of the most iconic are from the 18th hole.
Justin Thomas, during his record-setting 63 in the third round, hit the shot of a lifetime that is forever commemorated with a plaque in the fairway.
The official poster of the championship by artist Lee Wybranski captured the essence of the course from the perspective of the 18th from just behind the spot where Thomas and his 3-wood were making history.
"I'll take any connection with JT that there is, however esoteric. But it’s nice to have this one. It’s a little bit more connected this time around," Wybranski said.
"The collaboration with Lee felt like a natural way to create something special to all people joy through his art while directly providing for those that are in need," Thomas said.
The poster is of Thomas' playoff win at Kapalua in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
"This is really bright, beautiful. You know, it’s a moment of victory," Wybranski said. "So, there’s a great sense of positivity to it. So, it just seemed to have all the right ingredients. I really wanted to put out something positive, something for people to enjoy. And there was really no better option than Justin winning in a playoff at Kapalua."
In March, Wybranski created another work for COVID-19 relief that benefits frontline workers in the pandemic. The sales from this project help charities that are close to Thomas' heart.
"The recipients of the proceeds are ‘No Kid Hungry’ which is doing unbelievable work making sure that kids are still receiving meals while schools are closed and ‘Team Kentucky’ which provides assistance to Kentuckians who have been severely affected financially by COVID-19," Thomas said.
"He can just shine a spotlight on so many things and he is. He’s involved through his foundation in a lot of really grassroots benefits for people," Wybranski said. "But, it's neat to have the opportunity to sort of partner with someone of that stature, that level and that exposure across the world."
The two are expected to be at Whistling Straits in September for the Ryder Cup where, maybe, another connection on the 18th hole can be made.
"I'm very drawn to the people who carry themselves with drama and flare and JT does all that. So, it would be fun to work with him again on something," Wybranski said.