There’s a misconception in professional golf that major championships are a player’s lone avenue to a lasting legacy. The opportunity for golfing immortality shows up but four times a year and if a player is unable to grab hold of one of those trophies or jackets, their career has been a let down.
This flawed thinking reared its head in the run up to this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the green flag that restarts the PGA Tour season in 2016, when Mark Rolfing spoke with Justin Thomas ahead of the event. With 2016 being a Ryder Cup year, Rolfing posed a would-you-rather to Thomas.
On the surface, it’s an enlightening admission from one of the United States’ top young stars, but given some more context, you can better understand where Thomas is coming from.
— Ryder Cup Team USA (@RyderCupUSA) January 5, 2016
The Ryder Cup, to Thomas, is an event he grew up attending and dreaming of competing in. His family is connected to it. His father and grandfather are both long-serving members of the PGA of America and playing on a winning Ryder Cup team is at the top of his list of goals. Who’s to say that Justin Thomas’ personal opinion is wrong because their own personal opinion differs from his? It’s farcical.
In the complete interview, Thomas says he lays out between eight and 12 goals for each year. Do you really believe winning a major isn’t on that list? Of course not. But it was a juicy, faux-controversial and unconventional answer to a mundane question that can further an outdated assumption in lieu of actual golf news.
Thomas wants to play on the American Ryder Cup team and he wants to win. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win a major in 2016, too. Hypothetical questions are just that and should be treated as such. Stop projecting.