Never A Doubt: Justin Thomas Is the PGA Tour Player of the Year

The 2016-17 PGA Tour season was the year of Justin Thomas. It should come as no surprise to learn the 23-year-old was named Player of the Year in a vote by players with at least 15 official money events played last season. Other nominees were Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and Hideki Matsuyama, but Thomas stood on another pedestal with his breakthrough campaign.

Thomas did something in 2016-17 that only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Spieth have done since 1960 – winning five events, including a major, before turning 25.

At this time last year, the Louisville native began his scorching start to the season, with his first six starts leading to five top 10s, and more importantly, three wins at the CIMB Classic, SBS Tournament of Champions and Sony Open. The latter event in Hawaii was the invitational which certainly boosted JT’s recognition, shooting an opening-round 59 and went on to win the event at 27-under.

As Spieth, DJ and Matsuyama stacked wins throughout the summer, Thomas remained an under the radar performer entering golf’s final major, the PGA Championship. He was coming off a missed cut at The Open which included a second-round score of 80, but that didn’t deter him from capturing his first major. Thomas showcased his clutch genes, winning the Wanamaker Trophy having held off three players who were just one shot behind him.

JT played along with the narrative of being Spieth’s best friend, but when the duo were battling for the Dell Technologies Championship one month later, Thomas emerged victorious, silencing that storyline.

Thomas struggled at the following event, the BMW Championship, but when push came to shove, he stepped up in the season finale with the FedEx Cup title at stake. A runner-up performance at the Tour Championship gifted him enough points to win the top honor and thus clinching his Player of the Year crown.