Justin Thomas: 2023 Season in Review

Justin Thomas, 2023 Ryder Cup, Marco Simone, (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Justin Thomas, 2023 Ryder Cup, Marco Simone, (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /

Justin Thomas would be the first to admit that the 2023 season was not his best season. Naturally, being the two-time PGA Championship winner comes with high standards and expectations.

In the 2022 season, JT earned $6,829,576, finished 5th in the FedEx rankings, and finished T8, 1, T37, and T53 in the four majors respectively.

In the 2023 season, JT earned $3,566,403, finished 71st in the FedEx rankings, and finished CUT, T65, CUT, and CUT in the majors.

When Justin Thomas wins, he wins big, with 4 of his last 5 wins being a major (2022), the Players (2021), WGC-FedEx St Jude (2020), Sentry (2020), and the BMW Championship (2019).

To JT’s credit, despite not securing a win, his 2023 season still involved 11 top-25s and 4 top-10s. JT’s concern here will be that these 4 top-10s were in relatively low-level events compared to the calibre of result he expects; Hero World Challenge (5th), WM Phoenix Open (4th), Travelers Championship (T9) and Fortinet Championship (5th).

Normally, it’s the big marquee events that make a season a good season for Justin Thomas. So, was there a reason for JT’s stark decline?

JT secured a high-profile caddie in recent years, but this is unlikely to be the cause as Bones was with JT for his second major win.

Equally, JT’s passionate (yet struggling) 2023 Ryder Cup performance in Rome shows he is not short of motivation.

A look into the season statistics for Justin Thomas may unravel the issue.

In 2023, he ranked 141st in Driving Accuracy, 140th in Proximity to the Hole, 129th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 182nd in Three Putt Avoidance.

This means that Justin Thomas is hitting it wayward off the tee, struggling to hit it in close with the approach, and then having trouble with both lag and clutch putting.

These figures will be alarming for JT as it indicates trouble throughout his bag rather than a niggle here and there.

When you compare these same statistics with Viktor Hovland’s 2023 season, it becomes clear that JT has his work cut out over the winter off-season.

In 2023, Hovland ranked 29th in Driving Accuracy, 9th in Proximity to the Hole, 51st in Strokes Gained Putting, and 77th in Three Putt Avoidance.

Hovland may be a harsh comparison after the unbelievable season he had, but JT will see Hovland at a level he considers he should be at. Don’t forget, Justin Thomas’ 2017 season saw him win a major, earn $9,921,560, win the FedEx Cup, and secure 5 wins (something Hovland hasn’t yet done).

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JT tends to play in the Hawaii swing in January at Kapalua and Honolulu and has generally had success there.

Justin Thomas will have some time to grind through the winter before trying to start the 2024 season strong and avoid a repeat of this season.