Justin Thomas Announces South Africa Start After Missing Out On FedEx Playoffs

Thomas will tee it up in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November on the DP World Tour

Justin Thomas takes a shot at the 2023 3M Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Thomas will travel to South Africa for a shot at making the DP World Tour Championship after agonising missing out on the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

The two-time Major champion has been struggling for form this year after missing his fifth cut in seven tournaments at the 3M Open before then coming tied 12th as a late entry at the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour.

It left Thomas,30, agonisingly in 71st place to just miss out on the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which the top 70 made. It also could have been a fatal blow to his chances of making USA’s Ryder Cup side as Zach Johnson considers his captain’s picks for September 29 - October 1 at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.

Two-time PGA Championship winner Thomas has since confirmed he will tee it up at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which returns to Gary Player Country Club from November 9-12.

Thomas will make his debut in Sun City with the $6m event being the penultimate tournament on the 2023 DP World Tour schedule. It carries an increased number of Race to Dubai Ranking Points as the 64-man field vies for a place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, which is open to the top 50 players.

Thomas, currently 214th in the rankings for Dubai, is bidding to become the first American winner of this event since Jim Furyk in 2006. He said: “I am so excited to get to Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge and experience everything South Africa has to offer.

“It is a country I’ve always wanted to visit and this tournament gives me the opportunity not only to do that, but to compete in such an historic event. It’s been going for over 40 years and it is amazing to have Mr Player’s association. I can’t wait to see what makes it so great in November.”

Player, the tournament host, said: “The support of America’s leading professionals has also always been important throughout the history of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. It’s wonderful to have Justin Thomas add to this legacy. I’m excited to see him make his debut at Sun City and see how a two-time Major champion of his pedigree performs at the Gary Player Country Club.

Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood and fellow Englishman Justin Rose are also confirmed for the tournament which has been won previously by South African icon Ernie Els three times, plus the legendary Seve Ballesteros, and Major champions Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Danny Willett.

The tournament is a change in schedule for Thomas who has previously been a key member of Team USA in the last two Ryder Cups with 6.5 points from 9 matches for a 72% win rate. But Thomas has been battling with his game and shot an 11-over 82 in the first round at The Open which included a nine at the 18th.

In 12 starts since the Valspar Championship, he has one top 10, three top 20s and six missed cuts as he faces his worst FedEx Cup finish since joining the PGA Tour where he has banked $54,618,674 in prize money.

James Nursey

James Nursey is a freelance contributor to Golf Monthly after spending over 20 years as a sports reporter in newspapers. During a 17-year career with the Daily Mirror, he covered mainly football but reported from The Open annually and also covered a Ryder Cup and three US Opens. He counts a pre-tournament exclusive with Justin Rose at Merion in 2013 as one of his most memorable as the Englishman went on to win his first Major and later repeated much of the interview in his winner’s speech.  Now, after choosing to leave full-time work in newspapers, James, who is a keen single-figure player, is writing about golf more.  His favourite track is the Old Course after attending St Andrews University but has since played mainly at Edgbaston, where he is a long-time member. James’ golfing highlights include previously winning the club championship and scratch knock-out there. He is also an active member of the Association of Golf Writers and Press Golfing Society but his favourite round is playing the game with his young children. James is currently playing:  Driver: Ping G400 3 wood: Ping i20 Hybrid: Ping i20 Irons: Ping i500 4-SW Wedges: Ping Glide forged 50, 56 Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Ball: Titleist ProVIx