Justin Thomas knows how tough it will be to follow up 2017

American won five times, including a first major, and picked up the FedEx Cup title

Justin Thomas will partner Tiger Woods in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge. Photo: Getty Images

Justin Thomas will partner Tiger Woods in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge. Photo: Getty Images

 

Justin Thomas believes patience will be the key as he tries to follow up an amazing 2017 campaign which produced a first major title, four other wins and a $10million bonus.

Thomas began the year with back-to-back victories in Hawaii, including a 59 in the Sony Open, carded a record 63 in the US Open and then won the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

Another win in the Dell Technologies Championship helped Thomas claim the eight-figure payout for the overall FedEx Cup champion, before the 24-year-old ended the season with victory in the CJ Cup in Korea.

And although this week’s Hero World Challenge is not an official PGA Tour event, playing the first round alongside tournament host Tiger Woods on his latest comeback simply confirms Thomas’s place among the game’s elite.

“I’m not going into this year thinking I have to win five times, win a major and Player of the Year and FedEx Cup for it to be a great year,” Thomas told a pre-tournament press conference in the Bahamas.

“Yeah, that would be a great year, but I’m just putting all expectations aside from what people are going to have of me, what I may have of myself.

“I think it’s pretty obvious my expectations are high and I expect a lot of myself, but a lot more goes into it.

“I had a stretch last year where I didn’t finish very well but I thought I was playing better than the results were showing. A couple of years ago I probably would have lost my cool, just gotten impatient. Instead I stayed patient and I rolled off maybe the best month of golf I ever played.

“Without that patience I wouldn’t have had that, so I just have to continue to keep that patience this year, whatever may happen.”

Thomas revealed he would like to play in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at some stage, a tournament hosted by Rory McIlroy, but admits it will be tough to squeeze into his schedule.

“I definitely at some point would love to take on, I shouldn’t say a lot, but some European Tour events or just across the world,” the world number three added.

“But I still feel I have a lot to prove here first. There are still a lot of things I want to accomplish here; majors, win tournaments I haven’t won, set records if possible before I focus more on travelling and winning in different countries.”

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