Justin Thomas never got a spot in the finals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on Sunday in Texas, as Bubba Watson denied him in the semifinals.
Watson won 3 and 2, which sent the 24-year-old Thomas to the third-place match against Alex Noren. The loss also meant Thomas would stay put as the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world. If he had beaten Watson and advanced to the championship, he would have earned enough points to supplant Dustin Johnson atop the OWGR. Johnson has been No. 1 since February 2017.
But how much was the pressure of getting to No. 1 weighing on Thomas? Apparently, a lot.
"I haven't had such a hard time not thinking about something so much," a candid Thomas told reporters after the loss. "And that really sucked. I couldn't stop thinking about it, to be perfectly honest. And I think you're constantly getting questions about it with the media, but I need to be mentally stronger than that, and understand that it's just a match."
Thomas's next chance to leap Johnson in the ranking comes in two weeks at the Masters.
Love JT’s honesty. Asked if he was More bummed about losing semi finals or not getting to No 1, said he never had harder time not thinking about something.— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) March 25, 2018
NO.1 WATCH:— Nosferatu (@VC606) March 25, 2018
The battle for No.1 at @TheMasters will be a 3-horse race at least, with @DJohnsonPGA, @JustinThomas34 & @JonRahmpga certain to have a chance.
And that could become a 5-horse race if @JordanSpieth & @JustinRose99 have good finishes in Houston next week. #OWGR