Justin Thomas would like to take his last round of golf back.
Not because of a poor drive or a missed putt, but because of an unfortunate slip of the tongue that got him in some major trouble. Thomas had some explaining to do after he was caught on microphone spewing an anti-gay slur on live television Saturday. He apologized directly after his round, but the stain left behind from the remark won’t be going away any time soon.
Justin Thomas is playing in the Sentry Tournament of Champions
After a month away from the course, Justin Thomas returned to the PGA Tour circuit this weekend for the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course in Maui. It’s one of Thomas’ favorite places to play on Tour, as he’s won this tournament twice and has never finished worse than 22nd in five starts. Thomas returned this year as the reigning champion.
It didn’t take long for Thomas to assert his dominance this time around. The two-time winner opened with an 8-under 65 to take a share of the tournament lead after round one. He followed Thursday’s round with a 68 and a 67 on Friday and Saturday and sits four shots back of the leader heading into the final round.
But Thomas’ golf game won’t be the biggest storyline from his weekend.
Thomas was caught spewing an anti-gay slur on live TV
During Saturday’s round at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Justin Thomas made headlines for all the wrong reasons. After missing a short par putt on the fourth hole, Thomas was caught uttering a homophobic slur as he walked over to tap in his bogey. A Golf Channel microphone picked up the slur on live TV.
Word spread to Thomas during the round that his mistake was caught on a hot mic, and he did some damage control after he walked off the 18th green.
Justin Thomas apologized after the round
After his round, Thomas spoke to Golf Channel and apologized on-air for using a slur on the course.
“There’s no excuse,” Thomas told Golf Channel. “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 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. I deeply apologize to everybody and anybody who I offended and I’ll be better because of it.”
“As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin’s comment was unacceptable,” the PGA Tour said later in a statement. The AFP news agency said Thomas is likely to be fined for conduct “unbecoming of a professional.”