For some reason, Justin Thomas ejecting a fan from the Honda Classic on Sunday got the lion’s allotment of the attention, but what we should accept been advantageous absorption to was the actuality that Thomas took PGA National and aloof won for the eighth time in his aboriginal 101 PGA Tour events.
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That compares agreeably to generational talents like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, and I anticipate it agency we ability charge to alpha discussing whether Thomas is amid them. Here’s a attending at how Thomas endless up through 101 contest with Spieth, McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods.
I adulation attractive at trajectories of players aback it comes to wins and top 10 finishes, and this blueprint is fascinating. Woods is acutely a joke. He won 24 times in his aboriginal 101 events. That’s a cardinal that I don’t anticipate will anytime be matched. McIlory is as absorbing as we’ve apparent through 101 contest (non-Tiger division) in contempo years. It should additionally be acclaimed that McIlroy played on the European Tour afore advancing beyond the pond to comedy on the PGA Tour. That’s not article Spieth or Thomas did.
Spieth and Thomas are appropriate abaft McIlroy. Both had one win through their aboriginal 50 events. Both had four wins through their aboriginal 75 events. Both now accept eight wins through their aboriginal 101. Spieth has gone on to aggregate Nos. 9-11 in 132 absolute contest played, but Thomas has apparently a year and a bisected to bout that.
Even added interestingly, both are advanced of the paces set by Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson aboriginal in their careers and able-bodied advanced of abreast Rickie Fowler. These are historically abundant numbers, and I’m not abiding we absolutely acknowledge them (mostly because of Tiger).
When you extrapolate them into a abounding career, they become alike added eye-opening. Thomas plays in about 27 contest a year. As he gets older, I doubtable that cardinal will go down. Let’s accomplish it 25 a year and say he keeps the aforementioned acceptable allotment until he’s 40 (there will be ebb and flow, but the sample admeasurement is big abundant to anticipate this is realistic). That’s 30 added wins in accession to the eight he already has. That’s, gulp, appealing abutting to Phil Mickelson’s career of 42 wins. I should admonish you that Mickelson is apparently one of the 15 best golfers who has anytime absolved the planet.
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Spieth plays in beneath contest per year than Thomas, but he’s currently three contest up on him, too. It’s not absurd to anticipate that he could end up with about 40 wins, too. The absolute action will be on the above front. Spieth won two of his aboriginal nine as a pro. Thomas won his aboriginal on his ninth try aftermost August. Spieth has continued that to three majors in 19 tries. We’ll see area Thomas is 10 majors from now.
The boilerplate cardinal of apple baronial credibility becoming by them in their aboriginal eight victories is close, but Spieth is buoyed by his aboriginal two majors (which annual for 100 OWGR credibility each).
Jordan Spieth: 60 (first 8 wins)Justin Thomas: 59.5 (8 absolute wins)
But still, it’s not abandoned to catechism whether Thomas’ resume is according to that of Spieth’s through about 100 tournaments. Hell, if he wins the Masters in April, Thomas will apparently accept surpassed Spieth’s resume through the aforementioned cardinal of contest at that point in their careers. A big if, I know, but one that’s absolutely on the table.
The actuality that we’re alike talking about two 24-year-old golfers like this is crazy. Statistically speaking, though, it additionally makes sense. Both golfers were in the top six from tee to blooming in 2017, and both are in the top 15 afresh this year.
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They are two of the best ball-strikers in the world, but for me it rolls a little added than that.
This is absolutely abstract and mostly anecdotal, but it seems to me that there aren’t two golfers in the apple who affliction added about acceptable and legacies than these two. That’s not to say that added golfers don’t care, but few can ally aptitude at the accomplished akin with a aberrant admiration to attenuate aggregate continuing amid them and what they accept to be their destiny.
Perhaps that’s overwrought, but I don’t anticipate it’s overstated. Annihilation drives Spieth and Thomas like greatness, and maybe cipher abroad in the apple is apprenticed in the aforementioned way. Part of this is apparently a aftereffect of growing up with all the accouterment that appear with actuality aristocratic abecedarian golfers. They’ve affected the top of the mountain, apparent what it looked like and accepted that there’s annihilation they’d rather do than acknowledgment (over and over and over again).
Thomas did so bristles times aftermost year, and he’s aggravating to do the absurd this year: bang calm an acclamation that matches the aboriginal performance. He’s two wins abysmal with all four majors still in advanced of him.
“This absolutely takes the burden off me,” said Thomas on Sunday. “What I was admiring with with myself and I said this to my dad, said this to [caddie] Jimmy [Johnson], anybody on my team; I appetite to be added constant this year and I appetite to accept added affairs to win.
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“Obviously, I would adulation to win bristles times every season. If that meant my exact stats from aftermost year, I’ll booty that every distinct year. But I feel like aback I accord myself a adventitious to win, I feel adequate and I feel like I can get it done. That’s why this year I capital to do so more. I’ve been blessed with how constant I’ve been. But after any wins [in 2018], I’m consistently actuality reminded.
“It’s nice to get it a little bit off my back.”
This from a guy who went all of bristles contest amid victories!
So maybe we don’t get 10-15 years of Thomas vs. Spieth aggressive for the No. 1 amateur in the apple ranking. Maybe McIlroy rebounds and laps them both. Maybe Dustin Johnson hangs on for addition 10 years. Maybe Jon Rahm is absolutely a lot bigger than either Spieth or Thomas. But through 100 contest of their corresponding careers, the account has become clearer for these two adolescent Americans, ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in the world.
They are two avant-garde greats with history looming about in the not-so-distant future. And the catechism is no longer, Will Thomas anytime be as acceptable as his old pal Jordan? Rather, the absolute catechism is one we never saw coming: What if he’s better?
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