Thomas taking patient approach into US PGA battle

John Craven
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Thomas taking patient approach into US PGA battle

Justin Thomas (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When Justin Thomas was asked if he felt he’s underachieved in golf’s Major championships prior to last month’s Masters, the forthright American answered, “I know I have”.

The world number 8’s first and only Major victory arrived at the 2017 PGA Championship and although he also boasts a record of five top-10 finishes at golf’s big four events, the 14-time PGA Tour winner has come to expect more from his game.

At Quail Hollow in 2017, Thomas became just the fourth player to win a major and record five victories in one season prior to his 25th birthday (the others were Nicklaus, Woods & Spieth) and although he managed to get a Major monkey off his back so early in his career, Thomas now finds himself plagued by people wondering when the next one will arrive; though he’ll take that scenario over being mentioned amongst the best players to have never won a Major.

“I sure as hell would rather have one than zero,” Thomas said. “It’s a lot harder to get the second than I thought it would be, internally. Not as much pressure externally.

“But just on me, it’s like, obviously when you win one, to get to where you want to go, you have to win the next one, and when you get on a little bit of a drought, it can be frustrating.

“But I’m just trying to stay patient and understand that a lot of great players with unbelievable Hall of Fame-like careers, with multiple major winners have not won one until they are 30 or 35. You never know, I could win one, two, three, four majors in a year. I just have to be patient and hope it happens sooner rather than later.”

The best player never to win a Major was a label long attached to this week’s absentee defending champion Phil Mickelson, who won his first Major at the age of 33 at the Masters in 2004. It prompted a journalist to ask if such labels are being stuck on up and coming talent before their time is due these days on tour.

“100 percent,” Thomas said. “I’m sure for Viktor Hovland to come out here, and like, when are you going to win a major, and he’s been out here for three years and won however many times — it’s just one ever those things that you have to let happen.

“You can’t force anything. I definitely agree, obviously I haven’t been out here that long, but the age of when I first came out here of asking when guys were going to win their first one versus now quite a bit different.”

And if Thomas wanted to attract a bit of support behind his own Major quest from those lining the outside of the ropes this week in Tulsa, he certainly got it after taking to Twitter to call out event organisers for their efforts to price fans out of alcohol on site, with beers costing an eye-watering $18 at Southern Hills.

“Yeah, I just saw it and I was blown away. Sorry, Julius. It’s just a bummer,” Thomas said, referring to Julius Mason of the PGA of America who was hosting the press conference.

“You want people to come to the tournament. If I’m on the fence and I’m looking at the concession stand, that’s not the greatest thing.

“But at the same time, people aren’t like coming to a tournament, like, ‘oh, I’m going to go buy a Michelob Ultra’, you know what I’m saying. I was just blown away because I’ve never seen a beer for $18 or $19 in my life.

“Guys have been talking about it, so I, you know, had to stand up for the fans. Felt like it was right.”

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