Justin Thomas issued an apology on Saturday after a broadcast microphone picked up his use of an anti-gay slur during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. The remark came after Thomas missed a 5-foot look at par on the fourth hole while jockeying for position near the top of the leaderboard.
“It’s inexcusable,” Thomas said, according to the AP. “First off, I just apologize. I’m an adult. I’m a grown man; there’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am; it’s not the kind of person that I am or anything that I do. Unfortunately, I did it, and I have to own up to it, and I’m very apologetic.”
Thomas is known as a fiery competitor, and it’s not the first time a broadcast microphone has picked up one of his animated verbal reactions to a poor shot. But the nature of his Saturday comment crossed the line, as the PGA Tour acknowledged to Golf Digest in a statement.
“As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin’s comment was unacceptable,” read the Tour’s statement.
Thomas went on to miss out on a playoff with Harris English and Joaquin Niemann by a single stroke after shooting a 66 in the final round on Sunday. He said the playoff and the 66 didn’t take precedent mentally for him over the last day.
“Golf wasn’t the main thing on my mind,” he said after the round. “Usually being four back going into Sunday I’m thinking about one thing and one thing only, and that’s trying to win the golf tournament.
“But obviously had a lot of other things on my mind last night. I mean, I apologized yesterday. I don’t need to explain myself. I clearly screwed up. I made a terrible, terrible judgment call. But I thought a lot last night that, we grow a lot as people over time. I wish that I could learn to grow a different way than the way that I chose to do it, but unfortunately it’s in the past and there’s nothing I can do about it now. And again, it definitely was a distraction out there today. But now I just get to take time going forward and try to become better because of it.”