(Reuters) – Justin Thomas said he had made a “terrible judgment call” by uttering a homophobic slur in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and that the incident had played on his mind during Sunday’s final round.
Thomas had missed a five-foot putt on the fourth hole in the third round on Saturday and used the slur, which was picked up by a television microphone. He later said he was deeply apologetic.
He carded a final round 66 on Sunday to finish third after Harris English beat Joaquin Niemann on the first extra hole of a playoff.
“Golf wasn’t the main thing on my mind,” Thomas told Golf Channel. “Usually being four back going into Sunday, I’m thinking about one thing only and that’s trying to win.
“Obviously had a lot of other things on my mind last night. I apologised … I don’t need to explain myself. I screwed up. I made a terrible judgment call. But I thought a lot last night that, we grow a lot as people over time.
“I wish I could learn to grow a different way than the way I chose to do it, but unfortunately it’s in the past and there’s nothing that I can do about it now.
“It definitely was a distraction out there today. But now I just get to take time going forward and try to become better because of it.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)