Justin Thomas’ monthly goal for 2023 has nothing to do with golf

justin thomas at sentry TOC

Justin Thomas at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this week.

getty images

A few years ago at the Masters, Rory McIlroy was asked to identify the best book he’d read recently.

As McIlroy is wont to do, he expounded.

“’The Greatest Salesman in the World,’ by Og Mandino, that’s one that I sort of refer back to every now and again,” he began. “Either of the Ryan Holiday books are pretty good, ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ or ‘Ego is the Enemy.’ Just started on Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, so getting into that. There’s four.” Later, he referenced a fifth, “Digital Minimalism,” by Cal Newport.

It was a fascinating lens into McIlory’s mind, because, well, let’s face it — it’s unusual for Tour pros to reveal their reading logs. Tiger Woods has spoken of his appreciation for Dean Koontz thrillers, but the list of other golfers who have publicly disclosed their reading habits is a short one.

Which is why Justin Thomas’ New Year’s resolution caught our attention.

Justin Thomas is turning to a trusty old Scotty Cameron blade putter at this week's Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Why Justin Thomas is going back to his middle-school putter at Tournament of Champions
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“I want to read one book a month,” the world’s 8th-ranked player said Wednesday from the Sentry Tournament of Champions, in Maui, where many a novel has been consumed beachside, perhaps with fruity cocktail in hand. “I like to read, but I’m not consistent at reading. I’ll get into a book, and then I — whether it’s sharing a house with some friends that we have for a couple weeks in a row — I don’t touch it for a couple weeks or I’m just not disciplined when I’m home to do it. So I really would like to do that.”

Relatable…and inspirational! Thomas said he is partial to non-fiction — “I have a hard time reading something if it’s just not true,” he said — and biographies. “I read a really good one a couple years ago about the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lead singer,” he said. “That was wild, fascinating.”

Presumably, Thomas was referring to “Scar Tissue,” the 2004 autobiography of Anthony Kiedis, which Goodreads.com characterizes as “a story of dedication and debauchery, of intrigue and integrity, of recklessness and redemption — a story that could only have come out of the world of rock.”

Or, in 2022, the world of professional golf.

This year, Thomas has kicked off his book-a-month pledge by diving into Robert Wright’s “Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.” Sounds like just the kind of thing a stressed-out golfer should be reading. “It’s kind of about meditation and just getting your — it was recommended to me from a friend,” Thomas said. “I don’t know, I mean, I like self-help books. I can’t read too many in a row. But, yeah, that’s the one that we just started.”

A short excerpt: “…Anxiety, despair, hatred, greed…have elements of delusion, elements you’d be better off without. And if you think you would be better off, imagine how the whole world would be. After all, feelings like despair and hatred and greed can foster wars and atrocities. So if what I’m saying is true — if the basic sources of human suffering and human cruelty are indeed in large part the product of delusion — there is value in exposing this delusion to the light.”

Happy reading, JT!

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at GOLF.com, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.