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Justin Thomas speaks in Abu Dhabi after losing Ralph Lauren sponsorship


Justin Thomas spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since losing his Ralph Lauren sponsorship last week in the fallout of his use public of a homophobic slur.

In his first public appearance since being dropped by his sponsor, Thomas answered questions from reporters Wednesday at Abu Dhabi Golf Club ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. One of the questions was focused on Thomas’ using the slur after missing a putt at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Jan. 9.

“I’m clearly beyond (not) proud of what I said,” Thomas said Wednesday. “It’s humiliating. It’s embarrassing. It’s not me. It’s not a word that I use but for some reason it was in there and that’s what I’m trying to figure out as to why it was in there.”

Ralph Lauren announced in a statement Friday, six days after the incident caught on camera, it would end its relationship with Thomas. The designer, however, left the door open for Thomas to re-join the brand if he “does the hard and necessary work” to grow from the incident.

The 13-time PGA Tour winner spoke of his hope for growth and learning from his mistake Wednesday.

“It’s going to be a part of this process or training program or whatever I need to do not only to prove to myself and prove to my sponsors and prove to those people who don’t know who I am but that’s indeed not the person I am,” Thomas said.

Thomas begins his first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club Thursday morning alongside Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood.

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