20 Minutes With: 2022 PGA Championship Winner Justin Thomas
By John Scott Lewinski
It feels as though Justin Thomas is all but done talking about the endless war between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. Fortunately, the 2022 PGA Championship winner has plenty else to kick around these days.
The winner of two major championships—the PGA in 2017 and the 2017 FedEx Cup—before his 30th birthday, Thomas ventured into the early verbal scuffles this summer between top PGA Tour players and the bigger names who jumped over to Greg Norman’s rival LIV Golf events. Still, as the season-ended with the Open Championship at St. Andrews and the FedEx Cup chase, Thomas ventured away from the fuss and made it clear he wants to worry about playing the game—with a few important exceptions.
First, he’s set to step away from the tee box long enough to get married. Then, he intends to get back to his charitable causes. His explosion onto the international golf scene in 2017 after multiple big wins put the young Thomas in position to make a difference in his community long before he expected to have such an opportunity.
His Justin Thomas Foundation works to benefit children in need, including those from underprivileged military families. Whether by sponsoring junior golf events for kids who might struggle to gain access to the game or through other youth-centric charity services, the Foundation’s stated mission is to produce events committed “to showing compassion, displaying kindness and making a difference in the world.”
Thomas, a Louisville, Ky.-native and University of Alabama alum, also made his first foray into golf course design recently, partnering with an unexpected mentor while laying out the run at Panther National, a new golf and residential development under construction in Palm Beach County, Fla. Between stops on tour, Thomas now works side by side with the legendary Jack Nicklaus to create his first course.
PENTA: How does a golfer’s life change when he wins a Major? Then, how does it change again when he wins another?
Justin Thomas: The expectations on the player change for sure, with both your first Major win and your second. Those expectations come not only from yourself, but from everybody else around you or those following the tour, as well. It’s a life changer, but in the best way.