Justin Thomas says his apparent protest at the Presidents Cup was misinterpreted

December 18, 2019

Justin Thomas took a lot of heat at the Presidents Cup for a stunt he pulled on Saturday, when he appeared to protest having to putt out a three-footer for birdie. The non-concession seemed to rile up Thomas, but not as much as his reaction riled up spectators at home on the internet.

But according to a tweet from Thomas this week, the whole ordeal amounted to no more than one big misunderstanding.

Playing alongside Rickie Fowler on Day 3 at Royal Melbourne, Thomas shared a bizarre exchange with opponent Marc Leishman on the 11th green. The pair had a brief back-and-forth when Leishman asked Thomas to mark his ball before Fowler hit a chip into the green.

Thomas relented, but once Fowler had putted out for par, he sank his short birdie and then placed his putter on his putting line, measuring the length of the putt he just made. Many observers assumed JT was showing up his opponents for not conceding the putt.

But on Monday in a reply to a critic on Twitter, Thomas explained that he was “just having fun with my partner.” He also apologized for the move and acknowledged that it “didn’t come off as a good look.”

Thomas closed his response by saying that Fowler and he “like to have fun” when competing together in a match, and he was simply trying “show some emotion to pump us up.”

We’ll have to see if that’s enough satisfy golf fans who were put off by Thomas’ move and, more importantly, his opponents’ Leishman and Haotong Li. Most likely, his fellow pros have already gotten over it, but the armchair etiquette monitors might need more to forgive him.

Likely what matters most to Thomas is that the putt won the hole, and eventually he and Fowler collected a 3 and 2 victory. All in all, Thomas was one of the Americans’ best players at the Presidents Cup, compiling a 3-1-1 record as the U.S. comeback to claim at 16-14 victory.

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