Justin Thomas was already No. 1 in the FedExCup when he got to TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship.
Now he’s No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, too.
“I don’t care how I get it, if I get it,” Thomas said, “but I would much rather shoot 10 under on the weekend and earn it as opposed to missing the cut and have D.J. not play well.”
After making the cut on the number at 1-under and rebounding with a third-round 68, Thomas shot a final-round 66 at overcast TPC Sawgrass to finish 11-under (T11). It was out of his hands at that point, and Johnson spun his wheels during a final-round 72 to finish T17, opening the door for the change at the top.
“It means a lot,” Thomas said, “but it’s something I want to have for a long time, it’s not something I just want to have once.”
Thomas has won seven times on the PGA TOUR, including twice this season, since the start of the 2017 season. He also won the FedExCup last year. He came into this PLAYERS on the heels of a T21 at the Wells Fargo Championship and a missed cut with partner Bud Cauley at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Although he admitted he got sidetracked earlier this season by the prospect of potentially reaching No. 1, Thomas was able to put it out of his mind at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday. He made six birdies, an eagle and a double-bogey, missing birdie chances from close range on 17 and 18.
He said he was headed home with his family to relax and play pool, part of a much-needed rest after three straight weeks on the road.
“I love this golf course,” he said. “I always have; I’ve always said that. There’s something about it. It’s so exciting to go play because I truly feel like you can shoot 9-, 10-, 11-under, you really can, just because of the length of the golf course and if you’re driving it well and how good the greens are.”
Tom Lehman, who was at THE PLAYERS in a social capacity before driving to the Regions Tradition, next week’s stop on the PGA TOUR Champions in Birmingham, Alabama, was No. 1 for one week in 1997.
“It’s something that’s always next to your name,” Lehman said. “No one can take it away, and there aren’t many people who have gotten there.”
Thomas, who was the college Player of the Year in his freshman year in Alabama, is the 21st person to reach No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He wouldn’t say whether or not the achievement appeared on his goals list, which he keeps on his phone.
“It’s important,” he said, “but like I said, it’s not something where it’s like I just want to do it once. I want to do it for a really, really long time.”