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Thomas Proves Spieth Isn't The Only Golden Child

Justin Thomas made more news after missing the cut at the Travelers Championship than he did playing this June at TPC River Highlands.

Thomas called it. That's right. Seconds before his good buddy Jordan Spieth sank the bunker shot from more than 60 feet on the 18th hole, the unforgettable shot that made the earth shake at Cromwell, Thomas shook it up on Twitter.

"Wouldn't be surprised if Jordan Spieth just holed this bunker shot," Thomas tweeted seconds before Spieth did exactly that.

Seconds later, came this from NostraThomas:

"You're welcome." #goldenchild

Well, isn't that one golden child gilding another?

Thomas, who outplayed Spieth and Marc Leishman on the back nine Monday to capture the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, is only three months older than Spieth.

They entered this day wearing white caps and blue shirts on the first tee. With only two events left, they left the 18th green in a virtual tie in the FedEx Cup standings.

The two, products of the celebrated high school golf class of 2011, are 24. By PGA Tour standards, they are kids. Unabashed buddies who don't apologize for their friendship, and who have no need to apologize for it. They're also clever kids.

The little Twitter beef Thomas got into the day he missed the cut at Travelers reminded us of this. He was exhausted after fading badly at the U.S. Open and didn't play well the next week.

"Nothing worse than playing [thumbs-down emoji] at a course you love. Travelers Championship is awesome. Out of gas from last week, weekend of rest will do me well!"

Some unfortunate clown decided to respond by calling Thomas an unprintable word, told him to stop making excuses, told him he played 18 holes the previous day and got VERY sunburned. Yet still was managing to play 5-over through three holes. So suck it up.

Thomas' response to the Twitter troll?

"1. You kind of deserve it for not putting sunscreen on.

2. You may have a drinking problem.

3. You also appear to be bad at golf."

Game. Set. Match. #Goldenchild2

Thomas rebounded from the U.S. Open to win the final major, the PGA Championship.

Thomas wasn't watching when Spieth peered out of the bunker on 18 late Sunday afternoon. He was too busy on the 17th finishing his fifth PGA Tour victory of the season. After he and Leishman, another Travelers champion, had shot 30s on the front nine, Spieth trailed by two strokes on the final par-5. He needed another New England miracle. He didn't get it, bogeying to finish second, three strokes behind Thomas.

Granted, if a viewer took a shot of whiskey every time their friendship was mentioned on NBC Sunday, he'd be severely hung over for a week. Yet this notion, propagated on the 140-characters of hate known as Twitter, and by some other click-bait sports arsonists, that these top young American golfers should hate each other is preposterous.

Go watch old Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson or Conor McGregor-Money Mayweather video if friendly, dignified competition is too much for you to handle.

Spieth and Thomas are on similar career path trajectories. Yet it was Spieth who won three majors before his 24th birthday. He shot into that rarefied Nicklaus and Woods stratosphere.

Did he ever sense Thomas was jealous?

"No, never," Spieth said.

"Definitely jealousy," Thomas said. "I still get jealous. Any time my friends win and I don't, I'm extremely happy for them. I'm pumped for them. I'm excited, but I'm jealous. I wish I had three majors right now.

"I wished that I holed out a bunker shot at Travelers to win. And the same, I'm sure, works for them with me."

Liking each other and then wanting to beat each other's brains out on the golf course for millions of dollars shouldn't be that hard of a concept to grasp. Ollie Schniederjans, Daniel Berger, Thomas, Spieth a bunch of them came out of high school in 2011 bent on reshaping the face of golf. Rickie Fowler, a little older, Spieth, Thomas and Smylie Kaufman took a bro trip to the Bahamas. Good for them.

"We grew up together," Spieth said. "You watch each other work from when you're 14. We roomed together when we were 14. He's one of my best friends in the whole world.

"Phil and Tiger, if you're going to use that as an example, they didn't grow up together, room together, all that stuff, stay in touch through college and play in the same tournaments. Justin and Rick live on the same street and spend most of their time at home together."

No sooner had Thomas been given the championship trophy than he said that as thrilled as he was, he was more excited to get home and see one of his roommates, Tom Lovelady, who just earned his PGA Tour card.

"We're going to have a little dinner and celebrate on Wednesday," Thomas said.

So he'll go home to Florida, celebrate with Lovelady, then head up to Chicago early for the BMW Championship because his girlfriend lives there. That's what 24-year-old guys do. When the Euros used to beat the Americans' brains out in the Ryder Cup, there were always cries that the U.S. didn't bond well enough.

These young guys are bonding just fine.

Thomas and Spieth met at Walnut Creek at a Junior All-Star AJGA event. That was a decade ago. Spieth introduced himself on the range. Spieth won that day, Thomas was second. Shortly after that, they went to France and played for Team USA.

"Within our 2011 high school class, we were very prepared right when we entered college," Spieth said. "Me and Justin went 1-2 in rankings as freshmen. That's essentially Heisman Trophy winners being the top two voters, right? The Haskins Award is the Heisman of college golf."

Spieth beat Thomas for the national championship at Riviera in 2012.

"I'll have that one on him every time we're there," Spieth said, "but he got his Natty the next year."

Of course, this is this year.

According to ESPN Stats, Thomas is only the sixth golfer to win five times, including a major, in one season since 1990. Spieth and Thomas weren't born until 1993.

Spieth was outdueled by Dustin Johnson in a playoff at the Northern Trust Open last week. Spieth was outdueled by Thomas on this day. This year has been a great theater for the PGA Tour. Tiger, who?

On Sunday, Spieth was 5 under after four holes. He looked like he may turn in one of the great rounds in history. He didn't.

Spieth has three Tour wins, including the British Open in 2017. Even if he wins the FedEx, Spieth said it will rank as his second-best year behind 2015. Unless he pulls out something spectacular — that's always possible with Spieth — in the final two weeks, Thomas should be golf's player of the year.

Just don't ask Thomas if he's the best golfer in the world.

"I can't give you an answer on that," Thomas said. "That's only asking for trouble."

Asked if he thinks he belongs in the conversation, he said. "I guess I should ask what conversation."

Told you the kid is clever.

"It's just such a vague question," Thomas said. "Are you saying the best in the world at the moment? Are you saying as a whole? My career stats, I'm not even remotely close to being the best.

"But I feel confident when I get in this situation today, or the PGA, I can get it done. I feel like I've proven that I can get it done. It's really who's best at that time.

Sunday was Thomas' time. The kid just took home $1.575 million, has a strong shot at the $10 million for the FedEx Cup and he's jealous of his best friend for holing out that bunker shot at Travelers. A shot he called.

Got to love these #goldenchildren.

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