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Justin Thomas has admitted that he was “upset” by Ralph Lauren’s decision to end its sponsorship of him following his use of a homophobic slur at a recent event.

Thomas, 27, was dropped by the apparel giant after an on-course microphone captured him uttering the derogatory remark during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

The brand’s decision has divided opinion, with Rory McIlroy moved to comment earlier today that “it seems like you’re not allowed to make a mistake anymore”.

Thomas makes his first appearance since the scandal blew up at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and, speaking to the media ahead of play getting underway, he spoke about Ralph Lauren cutting ties with him.

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“Obviously I was upset,” said the American. “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. Although I apologised, it’s like it was then. It’s an opportunity for me to grow and 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.

“It was a great run that we had and a great partnership, but you know, things will work out for the best.”

He added; “They are a huge, huge global brand, and I have to respect their decision. Like I said, I wasn’t disappointed, because I put them in a terrible position. I just was more upset. 

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“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, and I totally respect their decision and I’ve moved on from it.”

There had been some speculation that other sponsors of Thomas might follow Ralph Lauren’s lead and end their own associations with the major champion. Not so, according to the man himself.

“I’ve had great communication with all of them,” he said. “It was obviously not calls or e-mails I was hoping or 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.

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“They know that’s not how I act and, 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, become a better person. I know that I’ll become a better man and a better person because of it, and they are going to kind of help me along that process.”

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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