Is Thomas the best player in the world?October 23, 2017 The Scoop
Justin Thomas is on fire. But the best player in the world? Alex Perry and James Savage lock horns in Alternate Shot
Justin Thomas lifted the CJ Cup on Sunday – his third victory in 12 weeks, a run that has seen him become a major champion, lift the FedEx Cup, and help the US to Presidents Cup glory.
Form is temporary and class is permanent, as the saying goes, but is Thomas the best player in the world?
Yes, writes Alex Perry
The rankings don’t lie. Except when they do.
Justin Thomas has just played nine of the last 12 weeks, in which time he has won his first major, as well as the Dell Technologies Championship en route to clinching the FedEx Cup, and last week’s CJ Cup.
His other finishes in that run are T28, T6, T47, 2 and T17. Ridiculous form.
Delving into the statistics – by which I mean looking at Justin Ray’s Twitter feed – Thomas has converted four out of five 54-hole leads into wins in 2017. Jordan Spieth has converted three out of four. Everyone else COMBINED are eight out of 30.
But he’s got to do it consistently, I hear you say. Well he is. Since the 2014-15 season began, Thomas has more rounds of 63 or better than anyone. His nine edges out Jason Day’s eight, with Spieth and Jimmy Walker next on six.
In 2017, if you take away the handful of missed cuts, his average finish on the PGA Tour was 16th.
DJ and Spieth might be No. 1 and No. 2, but for me Thomas is the man to beat in 2018. He and Spieth are good friends – what, didn’t you know? – and their friendly rivalry is going to be the talk of the town all year.
It will be great to see Tiger Woods back playing next year, but golf is in pretty good shape without him. And Thomas is leading the revolution.
No, writes James Savage
It has been a sensational year for Thomas and he is without doubt the form player at the moment.
He is in a vein of form similar to Jason Day at the back end of 2015.
He is the hottest player around and it wouldn’t be incorrect if he was sat at the top of the world rankings right now.
But is he the ‘best’ player in the world? And will he sustain this level? I don’t think so.
I would put Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy ahead of him – they have better golf swings in my opinion.
JT swings it off his feet with a phenomenal amount of speed. I feel there will come a time when his timing will be off and his bad shots will be really bad.
Over the courses of their careers I think DJ and Rory will end up with more wins and more majors.
And they are still the two players I personally would most like to see go head-to-head in the final round of a major.
Has JT won when either of these two players have been at their best? I don’t think so.