"We grew up together", Spieth said.
He was right. It was better.
Spoiler alert: Thomas hoisted the hardware, but it was a title bout that has been a decade in the making, the dye first cast when the two 24-year-olds squared off for the first time in a junior event in Mansfield, Texas.
"I would say the best are going to win", Thomas conceded, not delving much deeper into what the definition of "the best" might be.
Thomas, who tied for sixth last week in the first tournament of the 2017 FedEx Cup play-offs, is the co-leader with Australia's Marc Leishman on 12-under 201 heading into this morning's final round of the tournament at the TPC Boston course.
But after using either his driver or a long iron on the greens on the remaining 14 holes, Garcia struggled to a four-over-par 75 which ended in miserable fashion when a dreaded shank led to a double-bogey seven on the last. You're looking at Phil kind of back up against the wall, knowing he needs to do something to show Strick (Cup captain Steve Stricker) and the guys on the team that he still wants to be there.
Leishman also played bogey-free Sunday and had three straight birdies on the back nine for a 65.
But Spieth, who finished second at 14 under, shot 2 over on the back nine, leaving the door open for the reigning PGA Championship victor. 13 and 15 to take a two-stroke lead and sealing the victory with a clutch par save at the 16 hole. And he beat me that day. "I had to try and hit a high hook around the tree", he said, "but it was just sitting in a little bit of a depression".
Spieth and Thomas are friends and have been competing against each other seemingly for forever.
It's a rivalry that added a page yesterday in the FedEx Cup playoffs. "You grow up and you watch each other work from when you're 14 years old".
Although that friendship has endured, for Thomas there was a twisted pressure by association as he watched Spieth collect titles at an awesome rate.
Major victor Justin Thomas was flawless as he moved into a tie for a one-stroke lead with Marc Leishman after the third round of the Dell Technologies Championship.
"That was a definitely a bonus", Thomas said. Any time any of my friends win and I don't, I'm extremely happy for them. I just started earlier than he did on tour. His two bogeys to end his round - and a back nine of 40 - dropped him from solo second to solo third behind Jordan Spieth.
Now he's among the elite, joining Tiger Woods and Spieth as the only players in the last 50 years with five victories and a major in one season before age 25.
It's yet another connection in a relationship that has now come full circle, but didn't begin well for Thomas. I feel like I've proven that I can get it done.
Despite missing out on victory, this was Leishman's best result since winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and he is hoping to keep the form going into the final two FedEx Cup events.
They battled all summer until both were selected to represent the United States in the Evian Masters Junior Cup in France.
Spieth still moved to the top of the FedExCup standings with one more event before the $10m prize is decided at the Tour Championship at East Lake. In defeat, Spieth waited for Thomas to make the long march home to claim his first major championship. Best I've driven it since I can remember. "Obviously very disappointed. But we're good to go".