‘I know that’s harsh’: Justin Thomas gets candid about dominance in golf

Justin Thomas hits iron shot at PGA Tour event

Is pro golf better with a dominant player, or a core group of talented contenders? Justin Thomas had an interesting answer.

Getty Images

Scottie Scheffler’s last couple of weeks have made people think. Has he proven he’s week in, week out the guy to beat, and launched himself into his own tier on the PGA Tour?

You could certainly make a case for it. Scheffler won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship in back-to-back weeks, the latter after he came back from five down after 54 holes and overcame a bad neck in which his caddie thought would make him withdraw from the tournament.

But this was just the latest glimpse of Scheffler’s greatness. The World No. 1 is coming off a PGA Tour Player of the Year season — the first to win it back-to-back since Tiger Woods in 2005-07 — in which he won twice and finished in the top 10 17 times in 23 starts (including 13 top 5s).

Now, after last week’s Players performance, is he starting to separate himself even more?

At this week’s Valspar Championship, Justin Thomas was asked to name the most dominant player (not named Tiger Woods) that he’s seen on Tour in his career.

“In terms of consistency and who has played the best, nobody holds a candle to Scottie in the last couple years,” Thomas said. “But, to me, dominance is winning and winning a lot and often, and I guess when nobody has had Tiger-like kind of things, then it’s whoever’s done it the most. So I would say probably Scottie.”

Thomas said he thought of about three of four different golfers before bringing up Scheffler’s name. Several players have had key stretches. Jordan Spieth won 10 times and claimed three majors in 2 1/2 years. Jason Day won eight times in 16 months. Dustin Johnson 15 times in four years. Rory McIlroy has won at least once nearly every year he’s played on Tour, several multiple times. More recently, Jon Rahm won four times from January to April last year, including his Masters title. Thomas himself won seven times in 17 months a handful of years ago.

‘I’ll never forget it’: The best advice Justin Thomas ever received
By: Jack Hirsh

Back in 2016-ish, you might remember, golf couldn’t even decide on its most dominant player. The golf media invented something called “The Big Three,” which was sometimes expanded to “The Big Four,” and it consisted of a combination of Spieth, Day, McIlroy and Johnson.

But is golf better with a dominant player, or with a core group of contenders?

“It’s a really good question,” Thomas said. “I’ve thought about it before, too. It’s probably not fair to say, but I think it legitimately depends who it is. I know that’s harsh…”

But what exactly is harsh? Thomas’ microphone cut out for a second here, but he continued, seemingly explaining his point by using his buddy Spieth as an example.

“You shouldn’t compare or use Tiger, but anybody’s going to watch Rory or someone like him or Jordan, or whatever, win by seven or eight, just because you still don’t know the fun — Jordan might be leading by six, but he’s still going to have that hilarious conversation with [caddie Michael] Greller in the trees on 16 of how he feels like he can slice this 3-wood onto the green, when it’s not really going to gain him anything, and maybe he pulls it off and maybe he doesn’t — or chips it — you know, there’s the excitement factor versus others,” Thomas said. “I think it’s better for the game; I know it’s motivating for me when it’s like this, because I feel like there’s a lot of guys that I mean, jealous of, to be honest, of how well they’re playing and all the things they do well in their game where that pushes me to kind of want to do the same. So I guess it just kinds of depends on who you ask.”

As for golf’s current most-dominating player, Scheffler will try for his third straight win at next week’s Texas Children’s Houston Open. He’s proven he’s in a different stratosphere right now. Can he do it for another week?

“When I think of dominant [right now], I mean, yeah, it’s got to be Scottie,” Thomas said.

Exit mobile version