Monday, January 9
Justin Thomas Is the Champion Among Champions
GOLF SEEMED OTHER WORLDLY TO ME this past weekend, with a half foot of snow on the ground and wind chills at minus 10, such a contrast to the tropical images from Maui. I occasionally turned the channel to Golf Channel and NBC for the telecast of the SBS Tournament of Champions. I wished I was there.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua is familiar to me. I played it twice in one day in the 1990s. It's sort of odd to watch guys in shirt sleeves play in that setting when I'm shivering in the Mid-Atlantic, but good for them, right?
And especially good for Justin Thomas, who got his first PGA Tour victory on U.S. soil and his third overall. Thomas protected a lead down the stretch and finished 22 under, three shots ahead of runner-up Hideki Matsuyama.
"I stumbled more than I would have liked to do," Thomas said. "But it shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there, but I stuck it out to still get it done."
Thomas is a man of great promise, according to his pal Jordan Spieth, who tied for third with Ryan Moore and Pat Perez. Thomas and Spieth have been friends since their teens.
Spieth said, "I think it's potentially floodgates opening. The guy hits it forever. He's got a really, really nifty short game. He manages the course well."
With the win Thomas rises to No. 12 in the world rankings. The PGA Tour heads to Oahu this week for the Sony Open.