Thomas starts drive back to top
January 01, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Justin Thomas is looking for another win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. (PGA TOUR)
KAPALUA, Hawaii – Justin Thomas hits 2020 craving more. Much more.
More than the FedExCup he’s won. More than the four weeks he spent at world No. 1. More than being one of just 10 players to shoot a sub 60 round on TOUR. More than the 11 PGA TOUR wins, including a major championship, that sit on his resume at just 26 years of age.
The drive behind Thomas remains stronger than ever despite past success. There is no resting on laurels. Quite the opposite.
A pesky wrist injury last season helped take a win “drought” to just over a year before he connected in the FedExCup Playoffs with a BMW Championship triumph. His previous 11 starts prior to the win had been devoid of a top 10 – the longest such drought of his entire PGA TOUR career – including his amateur starts.
But the victory in Chicago reasserted Thomas as a class above most. He then opened 2019-20 with a T4 at the Safeway Open before winning the THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. Adding a T17 at THE ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan means he enters the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua this week sitting fifth in the FedExCup.
“I'm disappointed I haven't achieved more to be honest until this far. I shouldn't say disappointed… but I feel like I could have and should have won a lot more tournaments and definitely should have contended and won some more majors,” an honest Thomas said from Maui.
The 2017 FedExCup champion won at Kapalua that same year and was third here 12 months ago. It makes sense that he hopes to continue his rise back up where fond memories are in abundance.
His competitive fire is so strong it can sometimes be mistaken for a chip on his shoulder. With other players taking a bigger share of the spotlight in the last year one might think Thomas is driven to prove any doubters – or even those who may have slightly forgotten about his incredible talents – wrong. Not so.
“All the motivation I need to get to No. 1 in the world is in myself. I don't need to try to prove anybody wrong. I don't need to do it because people said I can't. Because I want to be there is big enough motivation for me,” he explains.
“I wouldn't say anybody slept on me last year. I didn't play very well to start the year, and I hadn't won at all, and I dropped five to ten in the world rankings, so there's a lot of people that were playing better than me and winning more tournaments.
“I could have had a pity party and asked for more attention, but I definitely didn't deserve anything special. I hadn't done what I had the year before and definitely not two years before that. I tried to stay patient, and I was glad to see it kind of come back to how it felt like it should have been at the end of the year.”