Justin Thomas apologizes after caught muttering anti-gay slur: 'I'm extremely embarrassed'

Tanya Simon
January 11, 2021

American golf star and world number three Justin Thomas has been forced to apologise after blurting out a homophobic slur live on air at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Thomas was heard using the derogatory word towards himself after missing a par putt on the fourth hole at Kapalua.

"It's inexcusable. First off, I'll just apologise".

"I had a ideal line the second shot, I just mishit it a little bit", Niemann said. "I'm an adult. I'm a grown man", said Thomas, ranked No. 3 in the world. There's absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. I made a bad, awful judgment call. It's not who I am.

"It's not who I am, it's not the kind of person that I am or anything that I do". "I was under the gun and it was a lot of grass behind and very thick".

"When I was a kid, I loved having the ball when the clock's running out in basketball", English said.

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"I need to do better, I need to be better", he said.

"It's a good start and get a week off before going to Abu Dhabi, a place I've never been, so I'm excited for that", he added. It's definitely a learning experience. "But now I just get to take time going forward and try to become better because of it".

Thomas, 27, went on to sign for a 5-under 68 to move to 17-under par for the tournament after 54 holes - four strokes behind joint 54-hole leaders Harris English and Ryan Palmer.

A year ago, Scott Piercy lost two endorsement deals for sharing a homophobic meme poking fun at Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is gay, when he announced he was suspending his campaign.

The PGA Tour also weighed in on the incident, saying, "As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin's comment was unacceptable".

Thomas had to settle for birdie and outright third before Harris English went on to beat Niemann at the first playoff hole, and the defending champion gave another contrite and apologetic interview after his round as he reflected on his "terrible, awful judgment call".

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