Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship on Sunday at Quail Hollow. While it was the 24-year-old’s first career major championship, it is just the latest triumph for one of golf’s hottest golfers.
On top of winning the PGA Championship, Thomas’ 2017 season has also included:
- Four wins, the most on the PGA Tour this year, and five other top-10s. A score of 27-under to win the Sony Open. His 253 at the Sony Open is the lowest score ever in a 72-hole event. An opening round 59 at the Sony Open, becoming the youngest golfer ever to break 60 in a PGA Tour event.$7.1 million in winnings, second only to Hideki Matsuyama.
All of this sudden success appears to have been sparked, at least in part, by his drive to catch up with one of his buddies and also some time spent with Jack Nicklaus.
Thomas and Spieth have grown close over the years as both were top amateur players in the high school class of 2011. However, when Spieth had his breakout season in 2015, Thomas grew frustrated, according to Brian Wacker of the New York Times.
Spieth had one of the great golf seasons ever, winning the Masters, the U.S. Open, and taking home more than $23 million in earnings that season. Meanwhile, Thomas finished 38th on the Tour money list with $2.3 million and his best finishes were a pair of fourth-place ties in the Sanderson Farms Championship and the Quicken Loans National.
After the 2015 season, Thomas decided to call in a favor. According to Wacker, Nicklaus had previously told Thomas to call if ever needed anything.
At some point in the past year, Thomas took Nicklaus up on the offer and Nicklaus invited Thomas down to his house in Florida for a meeting. The two met for three hours, according to Wacker, and it included one lesson in particular that stood out.
“I had the same game plan during a tournament when I was playing bad as when I playing good: being just as aggressive, hitting at every pin,” Thomas told Wacker. “When you’re hitting it bad, you can’t do that. When I’m playing bad, I need to just hit the green. I remember that talk a lot.”
The lesson must have helped, because now Thomas is on top of the golf world.