Justin Thomas’ hot-mic moment has hit him in the wallet.
Ralph Lauren Corp. said Friday it was dropping one of the best golfers after he was heard muttering a homophobic slur last weekend during a tournament in Hawaii. Ralph Lauren had been a sponsor of Thomas since he turned pro. He has been the No. 1 golfer in the world and won a major at 24.
“We believe in the dignity of all people, regardless of age, race, gender identity, ethnicity, political affiliation or sexual orientation,” the company said in a statement. “In reflecting on the responsibility we have to all of our stakeholders, we have decided to discontinue our sponsorship of Mr. Thomas at this time.
“While we acknowledge that he has apologized and recognizes the severity of his words, he is a paid ambassador of our brand and his actions conflict with the inclusive culture that we strive to uphold.”
Thomas was heard muttering the f-word slur on the fourth hole after missing a chance at par and settling for a bogey during the third round of the Sentry Open.
"It's inexcusable. I, first off, I just apologize," he told reporters after the round. "I mean, there's no excuse. I'm an adult. I'm a grown man, there's absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that."
Thomas added: "It’s terrible. I mean, I'm extremely embarrassed, it's not who I am, it's not the kind of person that I am or anything that I do, but it's, unfortunately, I did it and I have to own up to it and I'm very apologetic."
Thomas, one of the world’s top golfers on the PGA Tour, said he didn’t realize he said it until after the round.
"I'm speechless ... I found out when I got done on the golf course or when I got done with my round. I mean, it's bad. There's no other way to put it," he said.
"I need to do better, I need to be better, it's definitely a learning experience, but, yeah, I just, I deeply apologize to everybody and anybody who I offended and I'll be better because of it."
Ralph Lauren said it is hoping Thomas “does the hard and necessary work in order to partner with us again – truly examining this incident, learning, growing and ultimately using his platform to promote inclusion.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.