Former world number one Justin Thomas admits he was “really hurt” by his extraordinary spat with one of the game’s governing bodies on social media.
Thomas has been a vocal critic of the changes to the Rules of Golf which came into effect on January 1, calling them “terrible” in his pre-tournament press conference ahead of the Honda Classic.
His mood was not improved when he bent the shaft of his nine iron after hitting a tree playing a recovery shot in the opening round at Palm Beach Gardens and was unable to replace the club mid-round, only to repair it.
“You can just add that one to the list of rules that don’t make any sense,” Thomas said afterwards.
Enough twitter ranting for me today 😂as anybody who follows me knows, I’m always honest and speak what’s on my mind. The intent of everything I say is to get the game of golf and the @PGATOUR better. I enjoy/take pride in trying to do as much positive as possible. I’m out! ✌️— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) March 2, 2019
On Saturday, after it was announced that Adam Schenk was retroactively assessed a two-shot penalty for a caddie-alignment violation on Friday, Thomas then took to social media to criticise the USGA, who surprisingly responded on Twitter.
The USGA’s PR account claimed Thomas had “cancelled every meeting we’ve planned with you” and pointed out that the PGA Tour had been involved with the planning of the changes for seven years.
Thomas subsequently contacted the USGA offline and said after his final round that their claim about him cancelling meetings was not correct.
Justin, we need to talk. You’ve cancelled every meeting we’ve planned with you, but we are reaching out again. We were at the first 5 events, and tournaments last year, and your tour has had a seat at the table for 7 years. We’d love nothing more than to give you a seat. Call us.— USGA PR (@USGA_PR) March 2, 2019
“It is unfortunate,” the 25-year-old told reporters in an interview broadcast by the PGA Tour.
“It really hurt me; it was upsetting to me because the information they put out there wasn’t accurate in terms of me cancelling meetings and that doesn’t make me look good.
“That’s just when I got a little upset and we had communication with them (the USGA) because I know those guys, I’ve talked to them about the rules this year. We’re trying to communicate and get better relationships with them. All we’re looking (to do) is better the sport.”