PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – With all the success as Alabama’s Justin Thomas has had early in his golf career, it could have been easy for it to negatively affect his personality.
At the age of 16, Thomas became the third youngest player to make a cut in a PGA Tour event, when he played in the 2009 Wyndam Championship. He was also a two-time Rolex Junior All-American, played in the U.S. Junior Amateur two years, including being runner-up in 2010, and won more awards than a trophy case could have filled up, all well before his 18th birthday.
|DI MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP|
|Match Play: Quarters | Semis | Finals|
|Reger: Alabama’s quiet star|
|Reger: Vegas following in brother’s footsteps|
|Reger: Tide’s last pick having success|
|Reger: Ziegler recovers from eye injury|
|Reger: Cal’s Hagy takes care of business|
|Reger: Canadians get more exposure|
|Reger: Spieth finding Championship rough|
|Reger: Guillaume uses unusual path to Campbell|
|Reger: Hoffenberg returns from hiatus|
|Reger: Texas’ Frittelli gives back|
|Reger: Mitchell leading the charge for UGA|
|Reger: Pirates keeping focus amidst tragedy|
He was one of the top five recruits in the country and had his pick of any college he wanted. Thomas could have gone diva and been an extremely unpleasant person, but he has remained grounded and while others marvel at his golf game, he takes as much pride in his humility.
“I definitely would say some of it was my parents,” Thomas said of his attitude. “They wouldn’t let me get too cocky. I think it is important to be a certain way on the golf course.”
Thomas has the golf lineage. His grandfather, Paul, played on the PGA and Champions Tour, while his father, Mike, is a PGA member and is a professional at a golf course.
Decorum is important to Thomas, so when someone perceives him as being anything other than respectful of the game, it is unsettling.
“If I hear someone who thinks I am cocky, it makes me upset more than anything else,” Thomas said. “I try and stay humble. I’ve been really blessed with everything I’ve gotten in my life. I want to keep progressing in everything I do.”
Thomas would much rather let his golf do the talking.
“If someone wants to know about me they’ll look it up and find out for themselves,” Thomas said. “It’s just kind of how I am.”
Thomas’ golf has spoke volumes this year. He won his first tournament the Carpet Capital Collegiate and would go on to three more victories, the Puerto Rico Classic, SEC Men’s Golf Championship and NCAA Southeast Regional. He only finished outside of the top 20 twice.
He was named the SEC Player and Freshman of the Year, took the 2012 Jack Nicklaus Award recipient, the Phil Mickelson Award presented by the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation as the nation’s outstanding freshman and was named a PING First-Team All-America selection.
“It’s been a great experience,” Thomas said. “It’s gone by really fast. It’s been a pretty good year.”
Alabama Coach Jay Seawell knew he had someone special with Thomas, but even he was surprised this year.
“I’m a little biased of course, but I think he has had as good a year in college golf as a freshman can have,” Seawell said. “His play has been spectacular but more importantly just how he is as a teammate is impressive. He embraces team golf.”
Thomas couldn’t think of it any other way.
All the guys on the team and the coaches helped me get a lot better. I try and stay humble. I’ve been really blessed with everything I’ve gotten in my life. I want to keep progressing in everything I do.”