American golfer Justin Thomas has 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 defending champion Thomas missed a normal five-foot putt. As the world No.3 player went to bang the scarecrow, microphones picked up the insult, which the 26-year-old later apologized for using.
“There is no excuse,” Thomas said. “I am an adult. I am a grown man. I have absolutely no reason to say something like that. It is terrible. I am extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am. This is not the kind of person that I am. But, unfortunately, I did and I have to admit it and I am very sorry. ”
Thomas said he was unaware it was picked up and was a social media topic ahead of his tour.
WATCH | Justin Thomas apologizes for the homophobic insult:
“Like I said, it’s inexcusable. I am speechless. It’s bad. There is no other way to tell. I must do better. I need to be better, ”he said. “It’s definitely a learning experience. I deeply apologize to everyone I have offended, and I will be better for it. ”
Thomas is likely to be fined for conduct unbecoming a professional – although the PGA Tour does not disclose a conduct punishment.
“As he expressed after his tour, 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 referred to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.
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Patrick Reed also apologized to Shanghai in 2014 when he swore in conjunction with a homophobic slur after three hits.
Thomas, who reached world No. 1 for a week last year, is the reigning champion in Kapalua. He finished Saturday with a 5 under 68 and is four shots from the lead.