European Tour

Thomas contacts sponsors, to undergo training programme, after anti-gay slur

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Justin Thomas (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Justin Thomas (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Golf's world number three Justin Thomas revealed on Wednesday he had written to all his sponsors after issuing a public apology over an anti-gay slur that was caught on television microphones.

Thomas is also planning to undergo a training program to ensure "he becomes a better person" after his comments at the US PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this month.

American fashion giant Ralph Lauren subsequently ended their long-time contract with the 27-year-old American star, winner of the 2017 PGA Championship and 13 other titles on the PGA Tour.

Thomas is making his maiden appearance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and on the eve of the first round he was asked if he was disappointed at Ralph Lauren's decision despite the apology.

"I think disappointed is the wrong word. Obviously, I was upset. But at the end of the day, they have that right. They are a huge, huge global brand, and I have to respect their decision.

"Although I apologised, I spoke with them along with all my sponsors. It was obviously not calls or e-mails I was planning to make, but I needed to because I have some great long-lasting partnerships with all my sponsors. They know that's not the person that I am. They know that's not how I act.

"Although they are far from brushing it to the side just like I am, they understand that this is an opportunity for me to educate myself, grow and become a better person.

"I felt like it was something we could have done together and gone through that process.

"They just felt like they needed to move on. That's exactly what I'm doing, as well."

Without elaborating, Thomas also indicated he planned to take professional help.

"I'm clearly not proud of what I said. It's humiliating. It's embarrassing. It's not me. It's not a word that I use, but for some reason, it was in there. And that's what I'm trying to figure out as to why it was in there," added Thomas.

"It's going to be a part of this process and training program or whatever I need to do, not only to prove to myself, but also prove to my sponsors and prove to those people that don't know who I am, that I am indeed not that person.

"What I'm doing for myself is personal. Obviously, people are going to be part of that process but what I'm doing, I'd like to keep internally and just go through the appropriate steps to get where I need to and want to be.

"That is stuff that I feel I'd like to keep it at a personal level and go through the necessary steps."

Thomas is the highest ranked player in the field of the $8 million season-opening event on the European Tour.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
India 294/7
England 205/10
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 12465 votes
12% - 3717 votes
19% - 5655 votes
3% - 787 votes
1% - 299 votes
2% - 710 votes
5% - 1548 votes
8% - 2543 votes
3% - 1055 votes
Water sports
1% - 274 votes
American sports
1% - 390 votes
3% - 1016 votes