Golfer Justin Thomas uses homophobic slur during PGA tournament, apologizes after round

·2 min read
Golfer Justin Thomas uses homophobic slur during PGA tournament, apologizes after round

American golfer Justin Thomas apologized after using a homophobic slur during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Saturday.

The incident happened on the fourth hole, after Thomas, the defending champion, missed a five-foot par putt. As the world No. 3 player went to tap in the bogey, microphones picked up the slur, which the 26-year-old subsequently apologized for using.

"There's just no excuse," Thomas said. "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. But, unfortunately, I did it and I have to own up to it and I'm very apologetic."

Thomas said he was not aware that it had been picked up and was a topic on social media until after his round.

WATCH | Justin Thomas apologizes for homophobic slur:

"Like I said, it's inexcusable. I'm speechless. It's bad. There's no other way to put it. I need to do better. I need to be better," he said. "It's definitely a learning experience. I deeply apologize to anyone and everybody who I offended, and I'll be better because of it."

Thomas is likely to be fined for conduct unbecoming a professional — although the PGA Tour does not disclose conduct punishment.

"As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin's comment was unacceptable," the PGA Tour said in a statement.

A year ago, Scott Piercy lost two endorsement deals for sharing a homophobic meme directed at Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is gay, when he announced he was suspending his campaign. Piercy also referenced the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon.

Patrick Reed also apologized in Shanghai in 2014 when he cursed in conjunction with a homophobic slur after three-putting.

Thomas, who reached No. 1 in the world for one week last year, is the defending champion at Kapalua. He finished Saturday with a 5-under 68 and is four shots back of the lead.