Justin Thomas has a simple answer for who should win PGA Tour Player of the Year
Golf has a long tradition of decorum attached to its personality. Players are expected to behave in a civilized manner at all times, be courteous of their opponents and always keep respect at the front of the mind.
These unwritten rules go all the way up to the professional ranks as players tip toe around controversy. There is but a fraction of the off-the-course controversy of other professional sports leagues — such as, say, the NBA — as players are quick to compliment their opponents before boasting about their own achievements.
Justin Thomas was adhering to no such guidelines during his pre-tournament presser at the Tour Championship. When a reporter asked who would get his vote for Player of the Year, his answer was simple.
The deadpan answer came in stark contrast to others who were posed similar hypotheticals earlier in the week. Jon Rahm went down the list of contenders and showered them each with praises, reciting stats to back up each player’s case. Dustin Johnson was his typical aloof self, stating “I’m not sure yet. I think this week will help decide that.” While the youngster Collin Morikawa kept it humble and in perspective, something fans have become accustom to seeing from the 23-year-old star. Thomas was in no mood for such pleasantries.
If Thomas hopes to back up that talk, it will likely require a win this week at East Lake. Or, at the very least, a strong finish with a dark-horse contender taking home the FedEx Cup. A win would all but lock up the race for Thomas, but that will be an uphill battle. With the staggered leaderboard to begin the tournament, he sits three shots behind Dustin Johnson before anyone has even struck a shot.
Last year, in the debut of the new handicapped leaderboard format, Thomas was in the pole position when the balls got in the air during the opening round. It was a unique experience, being in the lead like that without having struck a shot, and one that can’t be replicated. When asked if he had any advice for his adversary Johnson, Thomas played it close to the vest.
“Without being disrespectful, I really don’t feel like saying that because I don’t want to give him any advice or things that I wish I would have done better,” he said.
When there’s $15 million at stake, sometimes decorum gets thrown out the window.