All eyes will be on Justin Thomas this week. Despite poor form this season by his lofty standards, the Ryder Cup stalwart received a captain’s pick to represent the USA coming up in Rome.
How he fares this week in Napa could show us what we can expect from him, as well as perhaps how much he’ll play for captain Zach Johnson.
Thomas also needs competitive reps. He missed the FedEx Cup Playoffs by one spot, making last month’s Wyndham Championship his last start.
Thomas is coming to a good spot to get his game and mind right. For one, it’s hard to feel too stressed in the heart of wine country. Secondly, he’s finished inside the top 10 in his last three appearances at Silverado.
Thomas’ high finish at this event came in 2015 when he posted 66-70-69-69 to take T-3rd. He followed it up with T-8th (75-66-66-67) the next year and T-4th (71-64-71-69) in his latest visit in 2019.
"“Yeah, I know that you can go low out here,” Thomas was transcribed by Tee Scripts in 2019. “It’s a course that it’s very short, the ball goes quite a long way with how firm it is, but because of how firm it is, you have to get it in the fairway and really have the correct angles into the greens…”"
Thomas ranked sixth on the PGA Tour last season in strokes gained per round around-the-green (.411). His ball striking wasn’t the best of his career, but it was far from the problem as he was 21st in SG tee-to-green (.933).
The issue was with the putter. Thomas recently split with putting coach John Graham, so we’ll see if that pays dividends.