Justin Thomas comes to a tournament that holds sentimental value, though he’s not exactly feeling all warm and fuzzy these days.
JT normally would be resting this week in advance of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Especially in previous years with top 125 making the first playoff tournament, Thomas was a lock to make it well in advance.
Now, only top 70 make it in. A disappointing season by Thomas’ lofty standards has him in a precarious situation.
He committed late to last week’s 3M Open, a tournament he’d never played. It didn’t work out well for the bubble boy, who missed the cut by two.
Thomas committed to the Wyndham Championship the same time as the 3M. I speculate he hoped for a strong finish in Minnesota so he could take this week off and avoid playing for the fourth week in a row across three countries and two continents.
Thomas is instead here in Greensboro playing for both his playoff and Ryder Cup life. For all we know, the two-time major champion’s credentials are already enough for Zach Johnson to go with Thomas for a captain’s pick regardless of recent form.
Given the depth of talent at the Americans’ disposal, conventional wisdom indicates that Thomas should have to show some signs of life to be worthy of a selection.
JT is 14th in the American Ryder Cup points standings. Top six after the BMW Championship earn an automatic qualifying spot and six more are chosen by Johnson.
Thomas is used to having his back against the wall. He overcame a nine-shot deficit on Sunday of the 2021 PGA Championship to surge back and win in a playoff.
Thomas is accustomed to playing well in high-stakes golf going back to his amateur days. He was an elite junior, an elite collegian at Alabama, and has been a world-class player for a decade as a pro.
This swoon he’s in is hard to fathom, but it doesn’t seem permanent.
Thomas doesn’t have to look too far back to find positivity. He finished T-9th at a designated event in June, the Travelers Championship. He was also fourth at the WM Phoenix Open, another designated event.
He’s 14th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained per round around-the-green (.336). He’s also 25th in SG off-the-tee (.909).
The 30-year-old has made two of three cuts at the Wyndham Championship. His MC came in his last appearance in 2016.
Thomas dazzled at Sedgefield in 2009 when he shot an opening-round 65 as a 16-year-old. He made the cut and went on to finish T-78th.