What Justin Thomas keeps on his phone – and how it could help us
Nothing against Tiger Woods but could you imagine him pulling out his mobile phone in his end-of-year press conference and revealing his goals for the year just gone.
Justin Thomas did just this after his second place at East Lake made him the new FedEx Cup champion. He made a list of 13 items at 9.21pm on Monday February 27 that he would like to tick off this year and he has now revealed what has helped to make him tick this year.
Thomas had just missed the cut at the Honda Classic, his second blank weekend in three starts after opening 2017 with back-to-back wins, so maybe he was trying to re-focus? Who knows what his reasons were but this is gold – on a par with Michael Greller’s final-round notes from Royal Birkdale – and provides quite an insight into how a 24-year-old’s mind works.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what Thomas wrote…
Tour Championship Y
He’s given himself a loosener here. He had already won twice so making it to East Lake should have been a given. I like it though, I didn’t get where I am today without first considering the very worst-case scenario. The Y stands, presumably, for yes.
Win at least once Y
He took his time here. It wasn’t until the middle of August that he got over the line again though it was a major and, less than a month later, he did it again at the sexily-named Dell Technologies Championship, The Deutsche Bank, to you and me.
Be in final 2 groups of a major on Sunday
He actually managed this twice, in the final group at the US Open and the penultimate pairing at the PGA. One worked out a treat, the other at Erin Hills ended with a 75.
He stopped doing the Y thing for some reason after this.
Win a major
Oh yes. Once upon a time he was the third member of the Spring Break quartet who was a bit better than Smylie Kaufman. Now he is a beast of a winner; all five of his wins were by more than two or more shots. And he broke 70 in the final round of all of those – 64, 69, 65, 68 and 66.
What would Paul Casey give for a bit of this Sunday magic?
Make Presidents Cup
Debut coming right up this week, qualified in third spot.
+.25 or better strokes gained putting
Strokes gained on the field, Thomas managed 0.289 which was the 47th best. I can’t really work out if he’s squeezed home here or done it with ease but the 0.25 was a realistic target and, like everything else thus far, he smashed it. (I hate that phrase.)
Above 1 SG tee to green (driving and approach)
I’m guessing here that JT – for that is what the kids call him – is accumulating the two categories. Off the tee he was 0.398 (32nd) and for the approach he was 0.680 (6th) which gave him a family fortune total of 1.078.
Take a bow Justin, not just for achieving it but working out what would be a good target.
Top 10 in all round stats
In truth I’m not sure what he means here, presumably Strokes Gained Total. Of course he cruised home again – 1.618 which was good enough for 5th spot.
FYI Dustin Johnson (1.905) edged out Jordan Spieth (1.871) here.
Under par on par 3/4/5
Unsurprisingly the par 5s were good to him (4.60 for 24th), he was outstanding on the 4s (3.94 for 2nd) but he was fairly ordinary on the short holes – a miserable average of 3.04 which left him down in 56th. Work to do JT, work to do…
Top 30 in scrambling
Again, a shambles. He only managed to get it up and down 60.39% of the time for 54th on the standings. Bordering on the onset of the chyips.
Top 10 in half my starts
We’ve really moved on now from simply just making it to the Tour Championship, now he’s thinking big.
Since that Monday night in February he played in 17 events and had… eight top 10s. But two of these were wins and he did trouser $10 million so we’ll see this as a success.
Under 70 scoring average
Again, a bold call. To play in all the big tournaments, in front of the biggest crowds, in the show groups every week on courses that come in at around 7,500 yards and to average under 70 shots a round.
Easy – 69.359 which was third best on tour. His holiday pals Spieth and Fowler were the only ones ahead of him.
Less short sides
Let’s, just for the sake of it, presume he managed this.
The similarities with Thomas and me are staggering. If I were ever to create a list like this it would be on a Monday night and in my Notes on my phone.
This is always the tricky evening to fill, it’s always a bit after the lord mayor’s show and I’m usually heavily reliant on some sort of box set or drama. Current favourites include Line of Duty and Broken.
It has also made me think that I’m hanging around with the wrong people. The company you keep must have some sort of effect and my holiday/golfing circle of friends are a veritable bunch of wrong’uns and fellow sufferers. There is little or no talk of anything positive, rather focusing in on the moment when ‘the fear’ has gripped them.
I must keep more stats. While I won’t be able to keep tabs on my Right Rough Tendency I should be able to tot up how many fairways and greens I hit and, digging a little deeper, remembering where I miss all my putts.
I must aim play in a competition, any competition. Even the winter Yellow Peril would sharpen my focus.