Justin Thomas Qualifies for 43rd Ryder Cup
Residence: Jupiter, Florida
World Ranking: 5
Ryder Cup ranking: 5
Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2018)
U.S. Ryder Cup record: 4-1-0 total (2-0-0 four-ball, 1-1-0 foursomes, 1-0-0 singles)
Justin Thomas has been a machine in U.S. team competitions. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that he’s been the best player on the course – on either side – in every team competition he’s played in each of the last three times, dating back to the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National.
It’s also a little strange to think that this will only be Thomas’ second Ryder Cup, and first on home soil. With it will come more pressure to perform, but the fifth-ranked player in the world appears up to the challenge, even though this season on the PGA Tour has not been up to his enormous standards. (Thomas won The Players back in March and has collected two top-10 finishes since.)
Although his maiden Ryder Cup appearance did not end in victory for the red, white and blue, Thomas appeared in all five sessions, played extremely well from beginning to end and proved a quick study in how to manage his game and energy during a grueling week.
“Just all the stuff in the team room and hanging out with the guys,” he said three years ago in Paris about what he’ll remember most. “There’s a lot of guys that I know very well and all the teammates, but I think until you spend that quality time together, until you have those dinners and everybody is sharing stories of the different Ryder Cups. I just cannot wait to play in more of these and cannot wait to play in one in the States.”
He’ll now get his wish.
What JT brings to the team
Mettle. Flexibility. Stamina. It’s no doubt that Thomas will be one of the few members of Team USA who Captain Steve Stricker relies on heavily. Thomas has played in five matches in all three team competitions he’s played and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it happen again at Whistling Straits. If called upon, Thomas would happily stand ready to serve.
He’s also a luxury for the Americans because he’s able to play well in both the four-ball and foursomes formats. That’s not always the case for others.
Despite only winning once this year on the PGA Tour, Thomas is still putting up statistics that many of his fellow competitors would love. He’s third on Tour in strokes gained: approach to the green, fourth in strokes gained: tee to green and seventh in strokes gained: total. It’s only his putting that’s been off a touch during this season.
You can bet there will be a heavy dose of Thomas and Jordan Spieth. In fact, it wouldn’t be the biggest shocker to see them play together in every match.
The dynamic duo went 3-1 together three years ago in Paris and their only loss was to an undefeated Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari of Moliwood fame.
Thomas paired with Tiger Woods at the 2019 Presidents Cup and Rickie Fowler in the 2017 Presidents Cup. Neither player will be competing in these matches. The only other possibility for Thomas, if Stricker opts to break him up with Speith, would be Daniel Berger. Thomas and Berger paired together to win a four-ball match in the 2017 Presidents Cup.
The 4-1-0 record in 2018 was impressive because of the overall poor American performance, but Thomas is 10-3-2 combined when adding his record from the 2017 and 2019 Presidents Cups. That’s an incredible run – only losing three of 15 matches – when it often tends to take players a few team appearances to figure out how to manage the hoopla.
But not Thomas. He’s been flexible and unflappable each time and is just the kind of spark the U.S. needs to help it get back on track.