Professional golfer Justin Thomas earned his 14th PGA Tour at the Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida this past week. The five-day journey of his win was titled “one of the greatest comebacks ever,” with data from his WHOOP to prove it.
WHOOPs were created in 2011 as a fitness and lifestyle tracker, having the potential to obtain data on one’s heart rate, sleep cycle, recovery, and strain. WHOOP can recommend a daily stress level to optimize performance and decrease the possibility of injury from overtraining. Thomas wore his fitness tracker before and throughout the Players Championship which tracked and analyzed his heart rate, strain, and recovery. His efforts the week before the tournament were calculated to ensure he would be capable to reach his optimal potential throughout the tournament in the following days.
On the first day of the tournament, Thomas’s recovery was at a mere 62% and he shot 1-under-par 71. The second day, he woke up with a recovery of 77% and had 1 over par through the first 9 holes, in danger of being cut from the tournament. He “shot 3 under on the back 9 to end the day 2 below par after a second straight 71,” seven shots ahead of the lead.
The third day was looking better and his recovery was 84%, the highest it has been thus far. He shot 8-under 64, ending this day at -10. On the fourth day, Thomas was still in the green of recovery and had a percentage of 77%. Though his strain levels were fairly high, sitting at 16.4 when throughout the tournament he was holding steady at 13-14., Thomas had a great night of sleep and was strong enough to keep his recovery high. He received more than three hours of REM sleep, allowing him to be fully rested for his stressful day ahead.
Sunday, day four, and the last day of the tournament, his heart rate peaked at 125 beats per minute during his final swing, hitting the ball directly into the hole. However, his heart rose and fell from 138 beats per minute to 125 beats per minute as he watched his competitor, Lee Westwood, take his shot. Upon the result of the swing, Westwood became runner up and Thomas was able to secure the winning title of the PGA Players Championship a mere three shots later. When Thomas realized this, his heart rate began to escalate, then stabilize.
The optimization of training, strain, recovery, and sleep all came together to ensure the best possible outcome for Thomas during this stressful week. WHOOP data gave helpful insights into what was occurring within Thomas’s body and what his body needed to produce the most desirable outcome- a slow start followed by a big finish.
The WHOOP can help all of us, not only PGA Championship winners, achieve our goals and be the best version of ourselves we can be. Ensuring the most optimal outcome can be extremely beneficial when trying to reach certain fitness markers or goals relating to our overall health. According to WHOOP.com, the use of WHOOP has helped users decrease their injuries, have smoother travel days, and have better sleep schedules within just four months. Justin Thomas has proved that sometimes the best outcomes are not based on luck or strength, but rather on data and science.