Top Golf Newsmakers of 2022: Justin Thomas, a major champion again

Who He Is: PGA Tour member, 2022 PGA championSI Golf Rank: 10 (Bob Harig), 13 (Jeff Ritter), 12 (John Schwarb)Why He’s Here: Winning a major championship when starting the final round seven shots back takes some help, so one might say Justin Thomas is here because Mito Pereira is not. But it also takes a major champion to size up such a situation and know it’s not over.“I kind of looked at a leaderboard last night, just kind of looked at–surveyed it, I guess, took one last look at it, if you will,” Thomas said after becoming a two-time winner of the PGA Championship. “There’s a lot of great players ahead of me, but I know that they hadn’t won a major before, and I know I hadn’t won in a while.” Other Top Newsmakers: No. 13 Alan Shipnuck | No. 14 Jennifer Kupcho | No. 15 Matt Fitzpatrick | No. 16 Keith Pelley | No. 17 Judge Beth Labson Freeman | No. 18 Max Homa | No. 19 Rose Zhang | No. 20 Henrik StensonThe Kentuckian shot two remarkable rounds at Southern Hills, a second-round 67 in a windy morning that was the bad half of the draw and a final-round 67 that inched him up the leaderboard during Sunday’s back nine. When Pereira chopped up the 18th hole with a double bogey, Thomas and Will Zalatoris were left to settle matters in a three-hole aggregate playoff.After both birdied the first hole, Thomas two-putted for birdie to Zalatoris’ par after driving the 17th green, a club-twirling alpha moment.The win gave Thomas two majors, a Players and 15 total PGA Tour titles–he’s now a lock for the Hall of Fame at age 29. The world No. 8 has also won events in eight consecutive calendar years.Thomas went on to finish T5 in the FedEx Cup, go 2-1-1 in the Presidents Cup and then steal the show earlier this month at The Match with his play and his banter with Charles Barkley.2023 Outlook: JT is on the short list of guys who can be The Guy, and he’ll be at or near the top of the betting odds every time he plays. But can he add a different major title? He was T8 last year at Augusta and a green jacket will surely be atop the wish list. Come Ryder Cup time, the Thomas/Jordan Spieth duo will get plenty of action.

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