American golfer Justin Thomas apologized after using a homophobic bow in the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Saturday in Hawaii.
The incident occurred on the fourth hole after Thomas, the defending champion, missed a 5-foot par putt. When the world’s number 3 player tapped the bogie, microphones picked up the bow, which the 26-year-old later apologized for using.
“There’s just no excuse,” said Thomas. “I’m an adult. I’m a grown man. There is absolutely no reason for me to say such a thing. It’s terrible. I’m very ashamed. It’s not who I am. It’s not the kind of person that but unfortunately i did it and i have to afford it and i apologize very much. “
Thomas said it wasn’t until after his round that he realized it had been picked up and was an issue on social media.
CLOCK | Justin Thomas apologizes for the homophobic bow:
“Like I said, it’s inexcusable. I’m speechless. It’s bad. There’s no other way to put it. I have to do better. I have to be better,” he said. “It is definitely a learning experience. I sincerely apologize to everyone I have offended and I am getting better because of it.”
Thomas is likely to be punished for conduct that is not a professional – although the PGA Tour does not disclose a conduct penalty.
“As he put it 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 advertising deals for sharing a homophobic meme against gay Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg when he announced he was suspending his campaign. Piercy also referred to the far right conspiracy theory QAnon.
CLOCK | Palmer, English, leads the tournament of Champions::
Patrick Reed also apologized in Shanghai in 2014 when he cursed a homophobic bow after three putti.
Thomas, who reached number 1 in the world for a week last year, is the defending champion in Kapalua. He finished Saturday with a 5-under 68 and is four shots behind the lead.