Thomas understands 2018 will be filled with comparisons

Justin Thomas set the golf world ablaze in 2017, winning five tournaments while rising to third in the world rankings, and he understands he will be under pressure next year.

With all that success, including winning the US PGA Championship, Thomas knows there will be different expectations heading into 2018, where the American will begin the year trying to defend his title in Hawaii at the Tournament for Champions.

"I know I'm constantly going to get reminded of what I did last year versus this year and whether it's better or whether it's worse," Thomas said Monday during a media teleconference for the Tournament of Champions.

"I think the hardest part is going to be staying in the moment and recognising that it's a new year. It's a new opportunity for great things."

One difference every PGA Tour pro has to deal with next year is the return of Tiger Woods. The 14-time major champion made his latest comeback earlier this month at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished tied for ninth with three rounds in the 60s.

Despite Woods' injuries, Thomas thinks he can still contend in majors in 2018, starting with the Masters.

"That's a place [Augusta National] that if you know the place well or as well as he does - there's a reason why Freddie [Couples] has played well there for so long, and Bernhard Langer and Larry Mize have had great rounds there the last couple years - it's just such an advantage in knowing the course," Thomas said.

"The more you play it, it really just makes a world of difference."

Thomas played alongside Woods during the first round of the Hero World Challenge, marking the first time the two had been paired together in a competitive tournament. Thomas now hopes it happens again in an even more high-pressure situation.

"It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid to be coming down the stretch with Tiger Woods and hopefully it happens and hopefully I can come out on the other side," Thomas said.

"But regardless, I think this will be a great year for him."

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