Can Justin Thomas continue his gradual improvement at the Masters?
To look at Justin Thomas’ record at the Masters since he became a professional, is to see a notable trend of improvement year-on-year. Last year’s tied-for-12th finish was the best of Thomas’ career at Augusta National, and he’ll be eager to improve further at the 2020 edition of the major, where he is considered among the favourites in the golf US Masters 2020 odds.
Thomas has been a consistent performer over the last year or so on the PGA Tour, and will be hoping that his consistency will eventually lead to a second major title. The American triumphed at the PGA Championship back in 2017, but apart from that his best performance at a major was tied for 6th at the same event in 2018.
But there are few events that inspire golfers like the Masters. Something about the pristine greens and lush surroundings of Augusta bring about memorable moments in golf, and the title has always been right at the top of every golfer’s wishlist. This year, the event will take on a slightly different feel, and indeed a different hue, as the Masters is staged in the autumn for the first time.
That means that conditions will be a little different from the spring sunshine which usually beats down on Augusta. Whether this plays into Thomas’ hands or not remains to be seen, but there is a sense that playing Augusta at this time of year could level the playing field slightly, as no-one will be used to autumn conditions at the famous old course.
Thomas is a golfer who should have the ability to adapt, and he’ll have his sights set on continuing that trend of gradual improvement that he has demonstrated at the Masters in recent years. Since his 2017 success at the PGA Championship, there have been several PGA tournament wins, including two in 2020 already, having won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in early August.
Winning breeds confidence, and in an individual sport such as golf, confidence has a major role to play in the fortunes of any professional. Thomas is clearly a player who thrives on momentum, and if he can channel the good progress he has made this year into tangible success at a major, then it could be the catalyst for even more major titles in the years to come.
He’ll have his work cut out, of course, if he is to go all the way and win the Masters. The likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are all highly fancied to do well at Augusta, but the nature of major championships is that one bad round can cost a golfer their shot at the title, while one exceptional round can propel them towards greatness. Thomas will be hoping he can produce the goods to rival those other big names and make strides towards his second major title.
At 27 years of age, he still has plenty of years ahead of him, but time waits for no golfer, as so many players of the past will attest to. There is a reason Thomas is right up there with the in-form golfers in the betting, and it’s his responsibility to go to Augusta and deliver a performance worthy of his lofty reputation.