Justin Thomas: I would rather make the Ryder Cup than the Playoffs

Ronan MacNamara

Justin Thomas (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Justin Thomas admits that he would rather make the USA Ryder Cup team this September than make the FedEx Cup playoffs. It sounds bizarre because he probably can’t do one without the other.

Thomas needs at least a solo 18th finish or solo third or better without any help from other players to qualify for next week’s playoffs. The two-time major champion fired a moving day 66 to jump into a share of 11th on nine-under.

The American is fighting to avoid missing out on the playoffs for the first time in his career and is currently ranked 79th in the FedEx Cup standings with the top-70 advancing to next week’s FedEx St Jude. Also ranked 14th in the USA Ryder Cup standings making the playoffs would breathe life into his faltering bid to make Zach Johnson’s 12-man side.


“I want to make the Ryder Cup team so bad. I mean, it’s so important to me. I mean, I legitimately would rather make the Ryder Cup than the Playoffs, which is really, really messed up to say, but it’s just the truth.

“But because of that, I think that’s why I played so poorly the last month and a half or two months. Like it’s just I’m putting so much pressure on myself to play well, it’s very similar to what happened to me in 2016. I felt like I started to try so hard at the end of the year when if I just would have kept doing what I was doing and trust my ability and my talent, then it could have been good enough. Hopefully I learn from my mistake and play well tomorrow and just see what happens.”

The world No. 26 — his lowest ranking since 2016 — has overcome pressure before, emerging victorious in some of the sport’s most prestigious events. This week, though, is different than anything he’s faced.

“It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s a different kind of nerves,” he said. “I mean, it’s a lot harder than trying to win a golf tournament in my opinion. I think when you’re trying to win a tournament you’re there and if you don’t win it’s a bummer, but you still had a great week kind of thing. If I just don’t get it done for what I need to get done this week, then it sucks and my year’s over.”

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