Given Justin Thomas’ history at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Thomas starting the final round at Kapalua four shots out of the lead should have felt like an opportunity to add to his growing resume.
But the 27-year-old had other things on his mind.
During Saturday’s third round, Thomas was heard during the telecast on Golf Channel using a homophobic slur. Following his round, he apologized and said there was “no excuse” for his actions.
Even with a chance to win his 14th PGA Tour title and his third victory at Kapalua, Thomas said his focus was elsewhere entering Sunday’s final round.
“Golf wasn’t the main thing on my mind. Usually being four back going into Sunday I’m thinking about one thing and one thing only and that’s trying to win the golf tournament,” he said. “Obviously had a lot of other things on my mind last night. I mean, I apologized yesterday. I don’t need to explain myself. I clearly screwed up. I made a terrible, terrible judgment call. But I thought a lot last night that, we grow a lot as people over time.”
Thomas finished a stroke out of a playoff that was won by Harris English following a final-round 66 that included a bogey at the 17th hole, but he admitted that winning wasn’t the most important thing on Sunday.
“I wish that I could learn to grow a different way than the way that I chose to do it, but unfortunately it’s in the past and there’s nothing I can do about it now,” he said. “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.”