Justin Thomas’ struggles in 2023 continued Thursday in the first round of the Open Championship, shooting an 11-over-par 82. Here’s what you need to know:
- Thomas posted five bogeys, two double-bogeys and ended the round with a quadruple-bogey on No. 18 to finish the day tied for second to last place.
- He has now recorded consecutive major rounds in the 80s, shooting an 81 in the second round of the 2023 US Open last month before losing.
- The two-time major winner also failed to make the cut at the Masters earlier this year and finished T65 in the 2023 PGA Championship.
- South African amateur Christo Lamprecht, Tommy Fleetwood and Emiliano Grillo share the lead at 5-under after one round.
The Athleticquick analysis:
Who is Taichi Kho?
He was the one player on the field that Thomas beat on Thursday.
It’s one thing for an elite player in the world to struggle and not play well on a major stage. It will happen. It’s another thing to shoot an 82 with no damage to speak of or issue to explain it. But this is where Tomas lives now.
He shot 39 in the front. Then a 43 in the back. He is 3-over on par 3s, 6-over on par 4s, and 2-over on par 5s. He was bad off the tee, worse approaching the green, and worse off the green.
You want to say it’s weird, but it’s not.
It’s all part of an alarming trend for a player whose 2022 PGA Championship victory is seen as a potentially positive turning point in his career.
The season of 2023 is a borderline disaster. Thomas’ best finish this year was a fourth-place finish at Phoenix in February. He’s had two top-10 finishes since — a T10 at the Valspar and a T9 at the Travelers — to go along with four missed cuts and a devastating showing in the majors. Thomas missed the cut at Augusta, finished T65 at the PGA, and was 14-over in two rounds at the US Open before heading home.
Thursday as below. But there is no such game. Thomas should be back on the course on Friday and who knows what will happen.
Thomas fell to 43rd in the Datagolf rankings. Soon he will fall to the bottom.
It’s not just an issue for Thomas’ standing in the conversation among the world’s best players. That is currently irrelevant. For now, the question is whether he will even make the 2023 US Ryder Cup team. It’s a remarkable turn for a player who starred for the American team at Whistling Straits and has won a major since. However, there is no slight case to be made, that he is one of the 12 best players in the US right now.
We thought a turnaround might be coming after Thomas finished T9 at Travelers in late June, but he’s still skidding. His short game is in complete disarray. His placement is in disarray. The others? It doesn’t get any better.
There’s still time for Thomas to turn the year around, and he’s used to success in the FedEx playoffs, but something dramatic needs to happen.
Friday is a good time to start. — Quinn
(Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)