News & Opinion

Justin Thomas will train to be ‘better person’

Justin Thomas early leader 2020 U.S. Open first round
Justin Thomas

After Ralph Lauren dumps world’s No. 3-ranked golfer in wake of homophobic slur, Thomas commits to undisclosed training plan

Justin Thomas said he intends to go through a training program to “become a better person” after Ralph Lauren dropped the world’s No. 3-ranked golfer as a spokesman in the wake of his homophobic slur that was carried on a live tournament telecast.

Thomas, 27, a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, immediately apologized for his language after having been informed after the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions that the slur had aired on Golf Channel’s telecast. That didn’t sway clothier Ralph Lauren, which announced six days later that it was canceling its endorsement contract with Thomas.

“They had to do what they had to do,” Thomas said before this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. “They are a huge global brand, and I have to respect their decision. I wasn’t disappointed, because I put them in a terrible position. I just was more upset. I had a great relationship with a lot of people there, and like I said, we would have had the opportunity to do it together. I totally respect their decision and move on from it.”

Thomas offered no details about what kind of training he intends to receive, when or with whom.

“What I’m doing, I’d like to keep internally and just go through the appropriate steps to get where I need to be and want to be, so people understand that’s not the person I am, the character I like to portray,” he said.

Thomas said that his other sponsors, which include Acushnet brands Titleist and FootJoy plus banking giant Citi and golf-management company Troon, remain committed to him as a paid endorser.

Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.