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Youngster Justin Thomas got flipped off for wearing a Red Sox jersey at Yankee Stadium

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BROOKLINE, Mass. – Justin Thomas learned early on that the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees generates passionate exchanges from players and fans alike.

Even for kids.

Wearing a Nomar Garciaparra jersey at old Yankee Stadium (OK, that may have been a mistake), Thomas was on the receiving end of some pretty harsh hand signs and language.

“I was getting yelled at and cussed at and given the finger and I was 9-years-old,” Thomas said Monday at The Country Club, home to the 122nd U.S. Open this week. “That was my first introduction to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.”

Thomas, who added a second Wanamaker Trophy to his collection last month in a playoff win against Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills Country Club in Oklahoma, was not turned off by the abuse,. He’s been a lifelong Red Sox fan who honors David Ortiz in his email address.

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“My uncle is from up this area, and he’s a big Red Sox fan, and it just was kind of something that there was no birthday or Christmas gift that was for me from him was anything but Red Sox,” Thomas said. “I had a lot of jerseys, tee shirts, a lot of hats, a lot of blankets. I had a Nomar. I had a Manny (Ramirez). Then my first Red Sox jersey was a David Ortiz jersey. I think I even had a (Jason) Varitek one. He took me to a Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway for my birthday one year, which was really cool.”

Thomas, who has won 15 PGA Tour titles and a FedEx Cup, is one of the favorites this week at The Country Club. The world No. 5 finished third in last week’s RBC Canadian Open as Rory McIlroy “outdueled him” in the final round.