'I Legitimately Would Rather Make The Ryder Cup Than The Playoffs' - Justin Thomas

The two-time Major winner fired a four-under third round to sit on the cusp of the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings

Justin Thomas lines up his putt on the green
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Thomas' hopes of a spot at the FedEx Cup Playoffs remained alive on Saturday, with the American carding a four-under round of 66 to move into a tie for 11th at the Wyndham Championship.

Needing to finish inside the top 70 of the FedEx Cup standings to move on to the playoffs next week, he is currently projected to finish 72nd, but that could all change in a matter of moments, given previous history of the chaos that playoff season produces.

Despite sitting just outside the top 70, Thomas is back in contention at a PGA Tour event, but it's a slightly bigger tournament on the horizon that has the 30-year-old's eye, with the American hoping to be part of the US Ryder Cup side in September.

"I want to make the Ryder Cup team so bad," explained Thomas, who is currently well outside the top six automatic US qualifying spots and will likely rely on a Captain's pick from Zach Johnson.

"I mean, it's so important to me. I mean, I legitimately would rather make the Ryder Cup than the Playoffs, which is really, really messed up to say, but it's just the truth. But because of that, I think that's why I played so poorly the last month and a half or two months. Like, I'm putting so much pressure on myself to play well, it's very similar to what happened to me in 2016. 

"I felt like I started to try so hard at the end of the year when if I just would have kept doing what I was doing and trusted my ability and my talent, then it could have been good enough. Hopefully I learn from my mistakes and play well tomorrow and just see what happens."

By Thomas' incredibly high standards, it's no secret that 2023 has been a poor year for the two-time Major winner. At the US Open in June, after firing an 81, he claimed to be the "lowest I've felt". At the next Major, The Open, he made a quadruple bogey nine on the 18th hole to finish at +11 (82). The missed cut was his third at the Majors this year.

Despite this, Thomas isn't giving up and, finding himself just outside the top 10 at the Wyndham Championship, he has another opportunity to rectify his performances from earlier in the season.

"It's nerve wracking, but it's a different kind of nerves. I mean, it's a lot harder than trying to win a golf tournament in my opinion," explained Thomas, as he discussed what implications missing the Playoffs could have on the future going forward.

"I think when you're trying to win a tournament, you're there and if you don't win it's a bummer, but you still had a great week kind of thing. If I just don't get it done for what I need to get done this week, then it sucks and my year's over. But, you know, fortunately for me, I've been in some tough situations before with Majors, trying to win tournaments and team events where I feel like I've had a lot of pressure on me. Hopefully I'll be able to, you know, kind of use some of those past experiences for tomorrow if I'm feeling any of it."

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x