When Justin Thomas arrived at the start of the prestigious Players Championship – that he would eventually go on to win – he would have done so having remembered January and February 2021 for all the wrong reasons. Indeed, just weeks after Thomas was dropped by a few sponsors following an ill-advised tirade after a missed putt at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the golfer’s grandfather passed away at the age of 89.
Paul Thomas served as an inspiration to his grandson and followed his every step on the road to becoming a professional. It was his grandfather who would drive him to junior golf events and walk around the course watching him compete, offering encouragement and a warm uplifting smile when things weren’t going to plan. Many will share Justin Thomas’s pain given that when those precious relationships inevitably come to an end in life, the pain can be indescribable.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 14, 2021
Thomas’ struggles didn’t last long
January and February certainly asked questions of Thomas’ temperament on the golf course and it wouldn’t be unfair to say that the 27-year-old somewhat struggled. But, as we know in the world of professional golf, a month is an eternity in the sport. In fact, a golfer’s world can change in a mere 96 hours. Few would have predicted that Thomas would now be one of the favorites at +800 in online sports betting odds to win the Masters before he teed off at TPC Sawgrass, but here we are, in awe of the Kentucky-born golfer’s inspiring win at the Players Championship.
All things told, it was a frightening performance from the 27-year-old. Thomas’ control of the golf ball from tee to green was unmatched and perhaps also unprecedented at TPC Sawgrass on a Sunday, when you consider how often nerves take over at the Florida course. Lee Westwood, Thomas’ closest challenger was one of the unfortunate ones who eventually succumbed to nerves on the back nine. The 47-year-old said it was his age that ultimately caught up to him.
Youth told in the Players Championship
Thomas is twenty years Westwood’s junior and the age gap did begin to show as the pressure was cranked up on the home stretch. The 27-year-old’s steady putting stroke and nerveless chipping separated the two and on the back of this faultless performance, the question now has to be whether Thomas can win the Masters?
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) March 14, 2021
You do just get the sense that the playing of the 85th edition of the Masters presents the most opportune time for Thomas to add to his solitary major win so far, which was back in 2017 when he claimed the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. Indeed, when a player is swinging as purely as Thomas is, silverware invariably follows. In addition to that, with such a quick turnaround time before the players make their way up Magnolia Lane, the 27-year-old will understand the importance of making hay while the sun shines.
It really has been a remarkable change of fortune for the man they call JT, given that, in reality, the sun was doing anything but shining in Thomas’ life during the beginning of 2021.
To his credit, he’s been brave enough to keep trying and it’s spectacularly paid off. The 27-year-old will now head to Augusta National in electrifying form.