KAPALUA, HAWAII | Justin Thomas knew right where to go when he began thinking about how to handle the expectations that come with his 2018 season after his spectacular 2017 season.
He’s been there, done that.
“He’s reached out and we have talked a bit about it on a serious note, just what advice after coming off a year like he had similar to mine in 2015,” Spieth said.
“And I was able to, I hope, share just a couple insights that maybe I wasn’t prepared for that could have helped me, whether – not necessarily on the golf course, but more in just kind of way of life and blocking out stuff and staying focused.”
Spieth won five times including two major championships in 2015 and admittedly struggled against his own expectations the next year. Thomas won five times in the 2016-17 season including his first major championship and the FedEx Cup.
Given their long-standing friendship, it was an obvious connection for Thomas to make. Spieth was careful when asked not to divulge the details of their conversation but Thomas said there were no great surprises.
“It’s probably nothing crazy or nothing that you probably couldn’t guess, but just the expectations standpoint. I understand that I’m going to (have a lot more expected) not only from fans, peers, but from you all and probably going to be reminded of that quite often, so I just have to deal with it,” Thomas said.
“I can’t compare any years to past years or last year. It’s just golf so I just have to go out and do what I’m doing and just don’t get affected by that stuff. I think that was the main thing I took out of it.”
Spieth used himself as an example of how the magnitude of an individual season can be impacted by others.
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“Last year I had a lower scoring average and better statistics than I did in 2015 and my results were not identical to 2015. They actually, because of the lower scoring average, they should have been better than 2015 results-wise,” Spieth said.
“But it’s just a matter of where the cookie crumbles, it’s a matter of who else plays great that week when maybe you played great. Like I had D.J. and Justin a couple times that prevented me from a five- or six-win season this last year, that maybe in 2015 they just didn’t quite play that good – somebody else didn’t play quite that good.”