Justin Thomas arrives at Sedgefield Country Club ahead of the Wyndham Championship, the last regular Tour event before the Fed-Ex Cup playoffs, in the unusual position of being on the outside of the bubble looking in.
In seven successive seasons since gaining PGA Tour membership, Thomas has been among the top 125 heading into the playoffs, but with the reduction to 70 and an usually off-key season for the two-time major winner, he arrives in Greensboro, North Carolina in need of a big week if he’s to make it eight-for-eight.
“There’s just guys that have played better than me this season,” Thomas explained, “whether they’re ranked 1st in the world or 101st in the world. But now I have an opportunity to play well this week, get into the Playoffs and to go to three courses that I love. Like I said to Todd out there, I have a chance to have one of the craziest endings to a PGA Tour season and I’m going to try to do that.”
Despite a poor run of results that’s seen him miss five cuts in seven starts and slide to 26th in the world rankings, Thomas is embracing the challenge and doesn’t feel that his game is too far away. “I’m very confident,” he said, “I am. It’s different than trying to win a tournament or making a putt for a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, whatever it may be, but it’s still that same feeling.
“I was and am so excited to be playing this week. Like I said, it’s just, it’s a cool opportunity, it’s a great opportunity for me. I just, I mean, I’ve been in the right frame of mind I feel like for the last kind of month or so. I’ve been in a lot better head space of just a feeling like really good things are coming, But not as much expecting or saying, you know, when’s this going to be over. It’s just making it not as big of a deal as it is and just having an understanding that just having good scoring and doing what I have in the past, and know that any week just one shot, one round, one tournament could flip it and in a month nobody’s talking about it anymore.”
Thomas’ relationship with Tiger Woods has been well documented, playing practice rounds together at their homes in Jupiter, Florida, playing practice rounds on Tour, and partnering each other in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, and Thomas thinks that the recent announcement that Woods is set to join the PGA Tour Policy Board as a Player Director can only be beneficial for the PGA Tour and the game of golf.
“Yeah, I’m obviously excited to have Tiger on behalf of the players,” he said. “I mean, I know that he takes it very seriously. I think he’s spoken to it some, but obviously his relationship with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and what they did to basically create the PGA Tour, kind of what it is now.
“Then we’ve been dealt with some roadblocks, if you will, or just some difficult circumstances. I think he takes it seriously that he is going to be a part of paving the way for the future and the current I guess I don’t know if you want to call it structure or whatever of the PGA Tour. I think especially with him not playing as much now, I know he has a little bit more time than if he was playing a full season, full schedule.
“So he’s — he takes the future of the PGA Tour very seriously and he wants it to be in the best hands possible and it to be in the best position possible. I think it would be very easy for someone like him, all he’s done, just kind of like what do I need to do, I’ve made the Tour what it is, where it’s at financially, all the sponsors, TV deals whatever, and it would be pretty easy for him to just hide under a rock the rest of his life and be just fine. But that’s not who he is, he wants to continue to see the PGA Tour grow and succeed.”