‘It sucks so bad’: Justin Thomas details frustrations with his short game
Justin Thomas’ 2020-21 season has been a tale of two halves.
Early in the season, Thomas was unstoppable. He made 10 starts from September through March and finished in the top 15 nine times. He capped the run with an emphatic victory at the Players Championship and ascended to No. 2 in the world. Life was good and Thomas was making the game look easy.
Then, Mr. Hyde reared his ugly head.
Since the triumph in Ponte Vedra, Thomas has been a different player. He’s made nine starts in that time, and he’s yet to record a finish inside the top 10. His best week came at the lowly Valspar Championship back in April as he finished T13. Second-half Thomas has the resume of a player grinding to keep his card, not a perennial major contender. It’s been quite the departure from the player the golf world has become accustomed to seeing.
The culprit for his subpar play? An ice-cold flatstick. Thomas has never been known for his putting prowess, but for the last nine events, his putting has held him back considerably.
While his strokes gained numbers are healthy overall, putting is a distinct outlier. Thomas ranks inside the top 10 in four of the six measured metrics. In the fifth (SG: Off the Tee), he’s Tour average. But when it comes to putting, the 28-year-old is outside the top 100.
The first round of the Olympic golf competition showcased those woes once again. Thomas struck the ball beautifully, but his ineptitude on the greens prevented any sort of scoring run. While his blemish-free scorecard was easy on the eyes, a lack of birdies left a sour taste.
“I never had so many putts, like especially at the Open Championship and had some again here, where I feel like I’m hitting good putts, feel like it’s good speed and they’re just lipping out instead of lipping in,” Thomas said. “You get on those runs sometimes and it sucks so bad when it’s doing that.”
That run has been sustained a bit longer than he’d have liked, but it’s not for lack of effort. Thomas has indicated throughout the slump that he’s been working tirelessly to solve the mystery of his putting woes, but the remedy has yet to come. He’s even tried changing wands at the Open Championship, but still the ailment — and frustrations — persist.
“I would love to have some kind of old useless club that I could break over my knee right now,” he said. “But I’m getting closer.”
Thomas tees off for his second round in Tokyo at 9:25 p.m. ET.