Justin Thomas frustrated by failures to convert tournament leads into more wins
"As an athlete, I think it's always easier to look at the failures or look at the things that went wrong because that's what I'm able to build on and learn from"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 01/12/20 3:34pm
Justin Thomas has not yet decided on his goals for next year, but he has vowed to learn from being unable to convert several leads into victories in a frustrating 2020.
Losing out to Collin Morikawa at the Workday Charity Open in July still drives him "absolutely crazy", while his trend of relinquishing the lead continued into the autumn.
Thomas led after the first round at the US Open at Winged Foot after an opening 65 before rounds of 73, 76 and 72 left him tied for eighth, and he shared the halfway lead with Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm at the Masters last month but was unable to break 70 over the weekend.
The world No 3 also slept on the overnight lead heading into the final round of the ZOZO Championship only to be surpassed by Patrick Cantlay, and Thomas intends to work hard on his focus to prevent more titles from slipping away.
"I played well this fall, but I feel like I've had a really good opportunity to win three times and I haven't won any of them, so that's a little disappointing," said Thomas, who can still look back on 2020 as a success with wins at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational as well as the Sentry Tournament of Champions back in early January.
"I think I have to find a little bit better way to kind of get focused or just to really close the deal. I had a 54-hole lead in LA and didn't get it done, and had a co-lead for 36 holes at Augusta and had the lead through 18 at the US Open and I didn't get it done at any of those.
"So I clearly need to work on something or get something improved to get it done when I get in those scenarios again. But I've been working hard and I feel good about my game."
His finish at Muirfield Village remains a particular disappointment for Thomas, who had a comfortable lead down the stretch before he bogeyed two of the last three holes and found himself in a tie at the top with Morikawa, who went on to win at the third play-off hole.
Ahead of this week's Mayakoba Classic in Mexico, Thomas was asked if he thought more about the successful tournaments or the frustrating events, and he replied: "The ones that got away always. I think that's spoken like any golfer.
"As an athlete, I think it's always easier to look at the failures or look at the things that went wrong because that's what I'm able to build on and learn from.
"I mean, I think about Workday more often than I should, because it drives me absolutely crazy that I didn't win that tournament. There's so many shots on those last three holes that I wish I had over, but it is what it is.
"It was weird because I really feel like I've done a great job of closing out golf tournaments or playing well with the lead and doing well, but for some reason this year I didn't do that.
"I just didn't hit the shots I needed to, I didn't perform the way I should have, but you know, I'm going to have a little bit of time to reflect and I feel like I have a decent grasp or understanding what it was.
"But no, I very well understand that I was, you know, probably four or five rounds away from having another historic year, but it doesn't mean that can't happen next year."