The Forecaddie: Justin Thomas’ biggest challenge for 2018?

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The Forecaddie: Justin Thomas’ biggest challenge for 2018?

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: Justin Thomas’ biggest challenge for 2018?

ForeCaddie Logo SmallThree seasons ago, Jordan Spieth had one of the more impressive campaigns in recent PGA Tour history. At just 22 years old, he won five times, including at the Masters and U.S. Open, missed a playoff at the British Open by a shot, finished runner-up at the PGA Championship and captured the season-long FedEx Cup title en route to PGA Tour Player of the Year honors.

The next season Spieth won twice among 15 top-25s on Tour, and while he didn’t win a major, he was runner-up at the Masters and was T-37 or better in the other three majors. A strong year, yet not as strong as 2015 – and Spieth certainly heard about it.

“It’s been tough given I think it’s been a solid year and I think, had last year not happened, I’d be having a lot of positive questions,” Spieth said during the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon, where he tied for 30th. “… So that’s almost tough to then convince myself that you’re having a good year when the questions I get make me feel like it’s not.”

Of course, The Man Out Front brings this up because Spieth’s “good buddy,” Justin Thomas, faces a similar challenge in 2018.

The reigning Player of the Year also won five times last season, including his first major (the PGA), while shooting 59 at the Sony Open and tying a major record of 63 at the U.S. Open.

“I wonder if every time he steps in an interview room is he going to be compared (to what he did in 2017)?” Spieth said this week at Kapalua.

As he prepares for his encore, the 24-year-old Thomas is well aware of the expectations about to be heaved his way. He and Spieth have talked at length about the subject, and Thomas feels like he’s up for the task.

“I think that as the year goes on, (the challenge will be) trying not to compare this year to last year, you know, by say halfway through the year, for some reason if I haven’t won yet or I haven’t played well, or even if I have played well just not as well,” Thomas said recently during a teleconference, “because I know I’m constantly going to get reminded of what I did last year versus this year and whether it’s better or whether it’s worse.

“I think the hardest part is going to be staying in the moment and recognizing that it’s a new year. It’s a new opportunity for great things and I just need to continue to work hard.”

Said Spieth: “There’s a tremendous opportunity that he has to continue what he was doing and to get better every single year.”

The same can be said for The Forecaddie – just not on the golf course.

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