A new year often represents new opportunities for growth, redemption, or, in some cases, revenge.
All three of these attributes can be applied to Justin Thomas, who had a terrible 2023 season in which he failed to make the FedEx Cup playoffs. He also missed the cut at three of the four major championships, with a tie for 65th at the PGA Championship being the outlier.
Alas, Thomas hopes that 2024 will bring about more success. His season will begin at next week’s The American Express—the PGA Tour’s annual event held in Palm Springs, California.
“Obviously bummed not to be starting in Hawaii,” Thomas said at last month’s PNC Championship.
“[The Sentry is] always one of my favorites. You never know what will happen, and World Ranking and whatnot… but I learned a lot this past season. The number one thing is things are never as bad as people make them out to be. At times, I was just a couple of putts, shots, swings, here and there away from at least having a chance of making a run.”
The two-time major champion kept things positive when discussing his past season, even though he missed six cuts—the most since his 2016-17 season.
But he aims to begin the 2024 season with a solid start—at an event in which he has not competed since 2015.
In his two career starts in the Coachella Valley, Thomas missed the cut in 2014 and tied for 7th in 2015. At the time, The American Express was known as the Humana Challenge. It was originally known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic.
Regardless of the sponsor, Thomas is not the only notable entrant in next week’s tournament.
World number-one Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and defending U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark will also tee it up at The American Express. These four players are currently ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).
Other notable entrants include Michael Block, who was invited after winning the Southern California PGA Professional Championship.
Daniel Berger will also play, marking his first event since 2022.
Sam Burns, Eric Cole, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Min Woo Lee, Robert MacIntyre, Shane Lowry, Camillo Villegas, and Will Zalatoris, among others, are also listed as participants in next week’s tournament.
Players will play one round on three different courses: Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta Country Club, and the Nicklaus Tournament Course, before a 54-hole cut on Saturday evening.
The top 65 players and ties will advance to Sunday’s final round on the Pete Dye Stadium Course.
Indeed, Thomas wants to make it to Sunday and not start the season with a missed cut. That would spell trouble for the 15-time PGA Tour winner. But Thomas has had a penchant for bouncing back, and everyone in the golf world expects him to do that.
Perhaps the new year and the beginning of a new season will allow him to do so.