USGA backtracks on Justin Thomas criticism

Shane Lowry wins The Open for his first career major title

Justin Thomas said he was hurt by remarks from the USGA, which has now backtracked on its critique of the nine-time PGA Tour winner.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) clarified its earlier comments regarding Justin Thomas and his criticism of a controversial penalty at the Honda Classic over the weekend.

Thomas was among those to hit out at the USGA on Saturday after Adam Schenk was assessed a two-stroke penalty for a rules violation in the second round. The violation occurred when Schenk’s caddie stood behind him once he was in his stance on the 17th hole on Friday.

The penalty was not announced until Saturday and it ended up changing the bogey Schenk carded on the par-three 17th to a triple.

After the announcement, Thomas took to Twitter to criticise the decision using the hashtag “#growthegame”.

The USGA responded by writing on Twitter: “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 five events, and tournaments last year, and your Tour has had a seat at the table for seven years. We’d love nothing more than to give you a seat. Call us.”

However, they have now backtracked on those comments, posting on Twitter: “After further and more direct conversations with @JustinThomas34, we realise he did not avoid a discussion with the USGA nor cancel any meetings.

“We value his and all players’ opinions and are committed to a productive dialogue as the golf world adjusts to the modernised rules.”

Thomas, who finished tied-30th at the event, was a little shocked by the USGA’s original remarks.

“It was a little upsetting just because it was inaccurate,” Thomas told reporters on Sunday. “I haven’t cancelled anything, especially any meetings.

“But it is what it is, and all I want is the best for the game of golf and the best for the sport, and that’s what we’re going to continue to try to communicate with each other to get that.

“It is unfortunate. It just was — it really hurt me.”

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