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Thomas golf brothers inherit ‘Commitment to Excellence’

For the better part of three decades, the Oakland Raiders lived up to its slogan of “Commitment to Excellent” among pro football’s best teams.

One relic of those earliest Raider teams, defensive back Tommy Morrow, has two Farragut grandsons carrying on “Commitment to Excellence” on the links.

Mitchell Thomas, 14, a freshman at Farragut High School, and Chip Thomas, 10, a fifth-grader at Farragut Intermediate School, each won Tennessee Golf Association Junior Tour Tournament of Champions events earlier this summer.

In beating the state’s top 21 golfers ages 14-15, Mitchell won the State Boys 14-15 Masters Division Championship played at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs July 29-30. As for career accomplishments, “Overall I'd say it was the biggest one,” Mitchell said.

Chip won the Chattanooga Region Boys 10-13 Tour Division Championship played at Fall Creek Falls State Park July 23-24 among a 20-team field.

The 10-year-old also captured first in a pair of TGAJT 18-hole, one-day events: Eagles Landing in Sevierville June 25 and at Oak Ridge Country Club June 3. “He's only 10 and he's playing with 13-year-olds,” Mitchell said. Chip also finished second-place twice and third in three other TGAJT events.

Cary Thomas, the boys’ father who also is FMS boys varsity golf head coach, said he gives “all the credit in the world to the bloodline on my wife's side that Mitchell and Chip have inherited” in reference to Morrow, who played for the Raiders during the early American Football League days in the early 1960s.

“There's a quality about a professional athlete that allows them to perform under pressure,” Thomas added. “And it's something that most people don't have. It's not only the physical talent to do something, it's a capacity to do it under pressure at a particular moment. You can see it play out, especially out on the golf course. It's very, very evident that it's something they did inherit.”

Morrow, an avid, competitive golfer in Tellico Village who “actually still holds the [AFL] record for the most consecutive games with an interception at eight” according to Thomas, gave Mitchell hands-on golf tutoring — real early.

“My grandfather, he started me out probably when I could walk ... probably about two or three,” Mitchell said. “I had these plastic clubs that I went around with. Hit the ball about 50 yards.”

Playing in his first FHS match earlier this summer, “I tied for the best score,” Mitchell said. “It's a lot of fun because our Farragut High School team, they so many good upperclassmen. I'm learning a lot from them.”

Ultimate goals? “By next year I want to be starting, a full player on the high school team,” Mitchell said. “When I'm a senior I'd like to get some kind of scholarship to some Division One golf college. “Some day I'd like to make it to the P-G-A Tour."”

Mitchell has tutored Chip.

“I started him out when he was young. ... I'm a lot of times his swing coach,” the 14-year-old said. “He goes out and watches me play and I go out and watch him play. And we play together every day at Willow Creek,” the boys' home course located in Farragut.

Chipper said Mitchell “really inspires me, I really like to watch him play. I really learn by how he plays golf,” adding that his long-range goal “is to be on the Nationwide Tour and get really serious about golf.”

Cary Thomas said he's “real happy for both of them. The best thing about it is it's not my goals for them, it's their goals they've set for themselves.

“They go out and work on their game every single day,” Thomas added. “They've achieved it, and I'm proud of them for that.

“There's really nothing like watching your child perform a sport.”


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