The USGA vs. PGA Tour players carousel continues to spin ’round as the best golfers in the world post up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week at Bay Hill.
Following a controversial call-out of World No. 4 Justin Thomas by the USGA’s official public relations Twitter account, Thomas expressed shock, disappointment and hurt stemming from inaccuracies that were levied in the tweets that he said made him look bad.
Yet another controversial penalty reignited the fire during the weekend at last week’s Honda Classic. Adam Schenk was retroactively assessed a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 10.2(b) for his caddie standing directly behind him as he prepared to hit his shot.
While Schenk later said there was no intent to cheat and that his caddie was simply finding the closest spot to talk to his player given his predicament, he accepted the rule and the penalty as it was enforced. Thomas, among others, were not so easily appeased.
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) March 2, 2019
Thomas’ tweet resulted in a response from the USGA a few hours later that called him out for “canceling every meeting” they had planned with him.
Asked about the response following his final round at the Honda, Thomas responded, “It was a little upsetting, just because it was inaccurate. I haven’t canceled 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.”
On Tuesday, the USGA threw their truck in reverse and Tweeted out a non-apology to the world, admitting Thomas hadn’t canceled any meetings. Instead, they pivoted into saying they respect his and all pros’ opinions.
After further and more direct conversations with @JustinThomas34, we realize 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 modernized rules.
— USGA PR (@USGA_PR) March 5, 2019
After further and more direct conversations with @JustinThomas34, we realize he did not avoid a discussion with the USGA nor cancel any meetings,” the USGA wrote. “We value his and all players’ opinions and are committed to a productive dialogue as the golf world adjusts to the modernized rules.”
Thomas retweeted the tweet from the USGA PR team to his quarter-of-a-million followers.
Thomas is not in the field this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but he will be next week at The Players Championship.