LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On the Monday after golf’s second major championship of 2022, this is a question worth discussing:

At 29 years old, is Justin Thomas already the best golfer the state of Kentucky has produced?

Better than Gay Brewer, who won the 1967 Masters and 10 PGA Tour events?

Better than Bobby Nichols, whose 12 career victories included finishing first in the 1967 PGA Championship?

Better that Kenny Perry, J.B. Holmes, Russ Cochran, Frank Beard, Jodie Mudd, Larry Gilbert or anybody else you want to place on the list?

The vote here goes to Thomas, whose victories at the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as his poised and persistent comeback win Sunday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, made him the first Kentucky professional golfer to win a pair of majors.

Put Thomas down as the 22nd guy to win the PGA Championship more than once, a list that also includes Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.

If you broaden the geography to Kentuckiana, Fuzzy Zoeller won the 1979 Masters and 1984 U.S. Open.

Nobody was as unflappable as Zoeller. He beat Tom Watson and Ed Sneed to win a Masters playoff at Augusta National Golf Club and then outplayed Greg Norman by eight strokes to win an 18-hole playoff to win his U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

But Zoeller is a New Albany and Floyd County, Indiana, guy, a lifelong Hoosier.

So the answer is Thomas, who soared from 15th to fourth in the 2022 FedEx Cup standings with his remarkable performance at Southern Hills, trailing only Masters winner Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Smith and Sam Burns for his overall performance this season.

Sunday’s victory was Thomas’ first tour win in 14 months, since he finished a stroke ahead of Lee Westwood at the 2021 Players Championship. But Thomas has finished in the top 10 in eight of the 13 events he has entered this season. He has earned more than $5.8 million without missing a cut.

It was his 15th career victory, which tops both Brewer, who grew up in Lexington, and Nichols, who learned to play in Louisville.

Nichols, who turned 86 years old in April, delivered an unforgettable performance while winning the 1964 PGA. Leading after all four rounds, he defeated Nicklaus in his hometown at the Columbus (Ohio) Country Club.

He finished nine-under par, three strokes ahead of Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer at a time when Nicklaus and Palmer were professional golf. His reward for winning the PGA was a check for $18,000.

According to the Consumer Price Index inflation calculator, $18,000 in 1964 would be worth about $168,000 today. Thomas earned $2.7 million Sunday.

Nichols contended in several other majors, especially the 1967 Masters. In fact, Nichols started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead with Julius Boros and Bert Yancey.

But Brewer posted birdies on holes 13, 14 and 15 on Sunday, which enabled him to overtake Nichols for a one-stroke victory as well as a payday of $20,000.

Brewer also enjoyed top-10 finishes in the PGA, U.S. Open (twice) and British Open. But his victory at August was his only major.

Thomas has a fourth-place finish at the 2020 Masters, a tie for eighth at the 2020 U.S. Open and a tie for 11th at the 2019 British Open.

Those are the final three gaps for Thomas to fill on his dazzling resume, and chances are he will do it as he enhances his reputation as the finest Kentucky golfer.

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