Justin Thomas was heard during Golf Channel’s telecast of the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Saturday uttering a homophobic slur.
It happened during the third round at Kapalua. Thomas was facing a four-foot putt for par on the fourth hole but he missed to the right.
He then walked past the hole and just before tapping in for bogey, he can be heard on the network’s microphones uttering the epithet.
After his round, he was interviewed live on Golf Channel.
“There’s just no excuse. I’m an adult, I’m a grown man. There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that,” Thomas told Todd Lewis. “It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am. It’s not the kind of person that I am. But it’s … unfortunately I did it and I have to own up to it and I’m very apologetic.
“Like I said, it’s in excusable. I’m speechless. … it’s bad. There’s no other way to put it. I need to do better. I need to be better. 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 eagled the 5th hole before double bogeying the 6th. Birdies on 8, 9, 12, 14 and 15 led a 68. He will begin his final round on Sunday tied for fifth at 17 under, four shots back of co-leaders Harris English and Ryan Palmer.
Thomas is the defending champion of the tournament.
PGA Tour veteran Scott Piercy lost two major sponsors 10 months ago as a result of controversial posts he shared on Instagram. One was a homophobic meme of former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and the other referenced QAnon, an ultra-conservative conspiracy theory about a secret plot against President Donald Trump.
At the WGC-HSBC event in China in 2014, Patrick Reed, after a three-putt, was heard on camera dropping the F-word twice as well as a homophobic slur.