NASSAU, Bahamas — The year of living dairy and gluten-free is over for Justin Thomas.
Chalk it up to a failed experiment but credit to Thomas, the two-time PGA Championship winner, for leaving no stone unturned in his quest for greatness. But living gluten-free and giving up his guilty pleasure of pizza only resulted in being a glutton for punishment: he failed to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs and dropped from No. 8 to No. 27 in the world this year.
“It wasn’t exactly during my best stretch of golf, so I would say if I had it over, I would not do it,” he said Tuesday during a press conference leading into this week’s Hero World Challenge. “Yeah, it’s one of those things, I don’t really give 50 percent too much. I feel like if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. I’m going to want to know how it is.”
Thomas, who turned 30 in April, explained earlier this season that he noticed his energy level was low when he competed in extreme heat, so he decided to do some blood work and food sensitivity tests, which resulted in him committing to follow a diet prescribed by Dr. Ara Suppiah, chief medical doctor for NBC Sports and Golf Channel. Thomas told Golfweek in August he ordered three gluten-free pizzas when he got back to the U.S. from the British Open.
“I was supposed to go six months of dairy free, a year of gluten free,” Thomas reminded his questioner. “I think like the six months was right when I was over in the U.K. for Scottish and British and I’m like I’m not going to start this back up in the middle of a tournament because I didn’t know how my body was going to react. Literally not having anything for six months, I thought there was a chance my body would freak out. After shooting about 400 the first two days at The Open Championship, when I got to Minnesota I got a gluten-free pizza like on Monday or Tuesday and I swear I could have cried, it was so good. “
Thomas had previously joked that he might give up one of his Wanamaker Trophies for a pepperoni or meat lover’s pizza.
“And honestly, I just slowly implemented dairy again the next two weeks and I didn’t feel any different, which I was shocked, to be honest. I was pleasantly surprised. I called Ara, who I’ve been working with. I’m like, I’m having gluten, I don’t feel any different after having this again, so I’m going to have it and see how it is. And here we are.”
Thomas said reigning British Open champion Brian Harman put it best. “Basically if you just play like crap for a year, having to diet, then you just go back to it. That’s what he told me.”
And this is what Thomas told the media: “Yeah, if you guys hear of me doing that again, tell me to stop.”