Justin Thomas said he was upset by Ralph Lauren’s decision to end a long-standing endorsement but hopes to move on from the incident just like they have.
Thomas was heard using a homophobic slur as an expletive after missing a par putt on the fourth hole of his third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month.
The world number three apologised at the time but was subsequently dropped by clothing sponsor Ralph Lauren.
Asked how he felt about their decision, Thomas said: “I think disappointed is the wrong word. Obviously I was upset, but at the end of the day, they have that right. They had to make the decision that they had to make.
“I spoke with them along with all my sponsors and although I apologised… it was an opportunity for me to grow and I felt like it was something we could have done together and gone through that process.
“But they felt like they needed to move on, so that’s exactly what I’m doing as well.
“It was a great run and a great partnership we had, but [hopefully] things will work out for the best.
Asked what he hoped Ralph Lauren would have done instead of terminating their association with him, Thomas said: “Just like my other partners and other sponsorships, it’s an opportunity for them to help me, just like I hoped to help them.
“I’m clearly beyond proud of what I said. It’s humiliating, it’s embarrassing, it’s not me. It’s not a word I use but for some reason it was in there. That’s what I’m trying to figure out as to why it was in there.
“Like I said, 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 to prove to my sponsors and prove to those people who don’t know who I am, that that is indeed not the person who I am.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the controversy, Rory McIlroy said he believes Thomas will learn from the incident and be less “ignorant” of words which can cause offence.
“I think he’s already responded really, really well,” the four-time major winner said. “I think he realised he made a big mistake as soon as it was brought to him and he completely owned up to it.
“He said he messed up, he’s going to try to be better. And Justin is true to his word. He will be.
“I’ve gotten to know Justin really well and he is as good a guy as they come. He’s got a lot of integrity, a lot of character. Obviously it doesn’t make what he said any better, but I think in this day and age it’s hard because it seems like you’re not allowed to make a mistake anymore. Any mistake gets jumped on.
“He made a mistake, he owned up to it and he’ll be better because of it. He’ll maybe not be as ignorant to things that offend people, I guess.
“Obviously what he said was offensive to a large portion of the population, but again, he’ll be better for it.
“He’ll learn and he’ll move on, and look, he’ll be just as good a golfer as he’s always been, and if anything, it will probably just make him a better person than he already is, which is hard because he’s already a great guy.”
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