You could argue that, over the past 18 months, Justin Thomas has in fact been quite a consistent performer, with the American securing a Players Championship victory in 2021, as well as a number of top-10 and 20 finishes.
However, that win at TPC Sawgrass is his only victory since August 2020 and, due to the incredibly high standards that Thomas sets for himself, a player who picked up nine trophies during 2017 – 19 (10 if you count the FedEx Cup in 2017) , it has left the 28-year-old slightly hot under the collar.
Since the beginning of the 2021 – 22 PGA Tour season, Thomas has consistently ranked in the world’s top-10, with his best placing during that period being 5th. Last year though, the American was the world no. 2 and, after his WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational win in 2020, he was actually number 1, the second time he has achieved the feat in his career.
With a number of players in the mid 20s age bracket, like Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler, overtaking Thomas, it has left the Major winner slightly “p **** d off with his world ranking placement.”
Speaking at the Valspar Championship, an honest Thomas said: “To be perfectly honest, it p **** s me off where I am in the World Ranking. But it just goes to show the level of golf that’s being played. I clearly have not won very many golf tournaments in the last two years, year and a half, at least, from other parts of my career, but I’ve played some pretty damn good golf and it’s just, if you’re not winning tournaments you ‘re getting lapped right now and that’s just the way that it is.
“And that’s a good thing for the game of golf. Having Patrick Cantlay do what he did last year pushes me to become better and having Collin Morikawa and Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland play as good as they are and be in contention in all the majors and win the biggest golf tournaments.
“I mean, yeah, selfishly and the jealous side of me wants that to be me. So it gets me working harder because your main goal is to have no names above you in the World Ranking and I definitely have more ahead of me than I would like. “
The American’s game does appear to be trending in the right direction though. At The Players Championship, Thomas put on an incredible display that saw him produce a three-under-par second round in unbelievably difficult conditions. The round was that good that even players in the event were asking how JT did it, with Harry Higgs stating: “There are no words to describe how insanely good that is.”
JT, who did you pay off this morning to not make a bogey ?? There are no words to describe how insanely good that is. 🤔March 13, 2022
Along with Thomas, Brooks Koepka has also showed dismay about his world ranking. Back in February, the four-time major champion stated that: “It’s embarrassing to be 20th.” However “a lot of it has to do with injury. I’ve been hurt, on the sidelines, not playing, playing through injury, you can’t compete with guys out here.”
Now though, at this week’s event in Florida, it is the young duo of Hovland and Morikawa who could take the world no.1 spot for the very first time.
If Hovland can win the event, he will jump Jon Rahm to top the world rankings, whilst Morikawa can also claim the number 1 spot by winning the tournament. Along with the possibility of victory, the American can also finish outright second or in a two or three-way tie for the runner’s up position, as long as Hovland doesn’t win.