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GOLF.com conducts a weekly roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and GOLF Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.
1. Justin Thomas picked up his fifth victory of the season by winning the Dell Technologies Championship on Monday at TPC Boston. So, with five wins — including a major — and a 59 and 63 to boot, where does JT's season rank among the best of the post-Tiger era?
Jeff Ritter, digital development editor, GOLF.com (@Jeff_Ritter): Does Tiger's five-win season in 2013 count as the post-Tiger era? Either way, since ‘09, when TW won six times but also got Yang'd, I'd slot JT third behind Spieth's five-win, two-major 2015 season and Rory from 2012, when he won a major and the money title on both the PGA and European tours.
Joe Passov, senior editor, GOLF Magazine (@joepassov): Great point, Jeff about Tiger's stellar 2013 season, which is too often overlooked as among the great ones, likely because he didn't snag a major. We can't overlook Jason Day's 2015 season, either, which I think was better than what JT has done this year. Day won five times, including downing Spieth in a record-setting, 20-under-par PGA Championship win. He outdueled Bubba to take the RBC Canadian Open, won the Farmers at Torrey Pines early in the year and grabbed two FedEx Cup playoff events. Five wins, five great fields—and he was just one shot out of the Open Championship playoff at St. Andrews. Rory, too, with two majors in 2014, plus the WGC-Bridgestone at Firestone and the BMW PGA at Wentworth would rank equal to or better than Thomas's 2017—but we still have two events to play.
Josh Sens, contributing writer, GOLF Magazine (@JoshSens): Good candidates from Joe and Jeff. If we're granting extra style points for majors, we might also put Padraig Harrington's 2008 campaign up there. He won the British and the PGA. Post Tiger? More like Tiger in post-op from knee surgery. But still impressive. We might also include a what-if season. As in, what if DJ hadn't slipped down the stairs in Augusta?
Sean Zak, associate editor, GOLF.com (@Sean_Zak): I really don't get as worked up about the 59 and 63 as everyone else seems to, but I do get excited about not just the wins but also the near-wins JT has had: T5 in Mexico, T4 at Jack's event, T9 at the U.S. Open and another top-10 finish at the first playoff event. Dude has played big-time golf in just about every big-time event this year. That being said, he'd probably need another win to vault over the aforementioned Day, Spieth, Rory (x2) seasons.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@alanshipnuck): These are solid entries. It’s hard to believe a year ago JT was just a talented tease and now we’re debating his place in the pantheon. It’s been satisfying to see him morph into such a big-time player. So much young talent in the game these days and Thomas is now in the front ranks.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I’m deeply impressed at the depth you all bring to this question. In terms of ranking Justin Thomas’s year in the PTE, I would only say that it is a reminder of Woods’s greatness, because he had no lulls. He came to play virtually every single time. You cannot say that of any of the aforementioned names, including Thomas this year. So much young talent in the game these days, as Alan says, and it is fun to see. It’s great to see. But it’s different. Justin Thomas is likely to be the Player of the Year without being the game’s best player. (Dustin Johnson, in my book, followed by Rory, then Spieth. Jason Day is somewhere in the conversation.) In the Tiger Era, Woods was the Player of the Year and he was the best player in the game, miles ahead of everybody else.
John Wood, caddie for Matt Kuchar (@johnwould): Boy oh boy, nothing to add here. I’d agree that Jordan’s 2015 campaign was the best. He won two majors and had serious looks at the other two. But JT’s year is a close second, with two events left. Michael, I absolutely love what you wrote. In the biggest events, with the best fields, TW won. And won, And won. Add up his major victories, his victories in world events, and The Player’s Championship, I believe the number is 34, which is absurd.
Justin Thomas won for the fifth time on Monday, and he still has two tournaments left to play this season.