Justin Thomas has won a lot lately. He’s won a lot of golf tournaments, a lot of golf matches, a lot in life in general. He’s won 7 times in his last 31 starts, including a major championship in August. He won the Presidents Cup with Team USA, going 3-1-1 in his first team appearance. He won the FedEx Cup, a fun $10M bonus, and the Player of the Year award.
It’d be easy for him to be numb to PGA Tour success right now, so it’s nice to see this raw emotion from the 24-year-old. It’s AWESOME to see how much he cares. Few things reveal more than a sharp, genuine, well-timed “fuck yeah!”
On a larger note, it’s been an interesting few weeks for JT. At first glance, there’s A LOT to like about this dude. He wins, he’s clutch, he’s American, he’s animated when he plays, he makes funny comments, he’s boys with the Spring Break crew, he’s boys with Tiger, he drops hard “fuck yeahs” when he putts out.
But yet, he has revealed a few cracks in the likability shield in the last few weeks. He’s shown some questionable handling of fans in general. At the Waste Management, he doubled the short and rowdy, but very birdie-able 16th hole twice. At Riviera, he made lengthy comments about the fans being out of control. At the Honda, he had a fan ejected for rooting for his ball to go in a bunker.
It’s a tricky one, trying to figure out how I feel about JT through all of this. On one hand, he’s a young, American star who wins golf tournaments. LOVE that. And fans absolutely shouldn’t be yelling in backswings, chirping players before they hit shots, or anything of the sort. We want the game to be rowdy, intense, and like other sports in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, golf is golf. It’s different.
On the other hand, it comes off as pretty damn soft to have a fan ejected for rooting against you. You’re telling me if the fan yells “get in the fairway,” you’re all for it, but if he yells “get in the bunker,” you’ll have him booted? Seems soft.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about JT. Sometimes I love him, sometimes I don’t. We’re going to hash it out and hopefully get to the bottom of it on this week’s Fore Play, which features a return of one of the all-time greats…