Thomas lives on edge and rallies to win Players Championship

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Justin Thomas holds the trophy after winning The Players Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 14, 2021, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The resilience it takes to get through a nerve-jangling Sunday at Sawgrass was nothing compared with what Justin Thomas had been through already this year.

An otherwise impeccable start to his career on and off the course came under scrutiny in January with a slip of the tongue when he muttered an anti-gay slur under his breath that cost him one sponsor and led another to publicly reprimand him. Tougher still was the death last month of his grandfather, Paul, part of the legacy of golf pros in the Thomas family.

He found the right time to deliver a gem.

Thomas took on every shot in The Players Championship, right down to the 5-wood that rode the edge of the lake down the left side of the 18th fairway, and closed with a 4-under 68 for a one-shot victory over Lee Westwood.

He won for the seventh straight year, his 14th career title, and became only the fourth player to win a major, The Players Championship, the FedEx Cup and a World Golf Championship.

“It’s been a crappy couple months. I’ve had stuff happen in my life I never thought I’d have happen,” Thomas said. "Losing grandpa was terrible, and having to play a round of golf dealing with that, and then on top of that not playing well, it just was a lot, and it took a lot on me mentally.

“This week was huge to win a big championship like this in front of fans again, which is incredible. It tested me mentally, physically, emotionally, and I’m very proud of myself for getting it done.”

Like most Sundays at this championship, it was wild as ever.