Justin Thomas on calling for fan to be ejected: 'He had to go home'

PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Justin Thomas lines up a shot on the 12th hole during the third round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 17, 2018 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) Warren Little/Getty Images

Justin Thomas on calling for fan to be ejected: 'He had to go home'

PGA Tour

Justin Thomas on calling for fan to be ejected: 'He had to go home'

Justin Thomas earned his seventh win in his last 31 PGA Tour starts on Sunday, defeating Luke List in a playoff at the Honda Classic.

But extra holes was far from the only drama he endured.

The 24-year-old has been vocal recently about fan behavior. At last week’s Genesis Open, Thomas was paired with Tiger Woods in the first two rounds and noted that fan behavior in the large crowds got a little out of hand at the end and that he wished it wasn’t like that.

He clarified in a pre-tournament press conference at the Honda Classic that his words had been taken out of context and that he loved the fans, but…

“It’s those certain fans that are choosing to yell at the wrong times or just saying stuff that’s completely inappropriate. … There’s really no place for it anywhere, but especially on a golf course, which is I feel like golf is pretty well known as a classy sport.”

So when a fan was heckling him on the par-4 16th in Sunday’s final round, Thomas wasn’t having it. He called for the fan to be ejected.

Harsh? Possibly.

But Thomas is right, fans shouting for a player’s failure has never really been in vogue in golf – well, save for maybe the Ryder Cup (and even there it’s not totally welcomed).

Thomas also gave the full context behind the fan ejection situation at 16, and it’s worth a full read:

Yeah, on the tee. We were walking up on the tee and this guy, I don’t know who he was talking to, but sounds like it was me. He said something like – he was like, ‘I hope you hit it in the water, hit it in the water,’ something like that. I just kind of like looked back there. Didn’t say anything.

Just, again, I feel like there’s no place for that, and I hit it and my ball is in the air and it’s not – it’s in the middle of the fairway and he’s yelling for it to get in the bunker. I was like, okay, I’ve had enough. So I just turned around and asked who it was, and he didn’t want to say anything, now that I had actually acknowledged him. So he got to leave a couple holes early.

I don’t want to kick someone out just to kick them out. It’s just it’s so inappropriate. We’re out here trying to win a golf tournament. I would have done it if he said it to Luke (List), just like Rory (McIlroy) did to the guy that said something to me at L.A.

Just because you’re standing behind the ropes doesn’t mean that you can – I don’t care how much I dislike somebody, I’m never going to wish that kind of stuff upon them. I felt it was inappropriate, so he had to go home.

It’s certainly an issue gaining a bit of steam. McIlroy mentioned how he had a headache after dealing with the crowds at Riviera the first two days (he was also paired with Woods). McIlroy added that Woods is at a huge disadvantage having to deal with those crowds.

American fans came under fire during the 2016 Ryder Cup for perceived over-the-top behavior toward the European players.

Anyway, Thomas has had enough for now. It’ll be interesting to see his thoughts come Ryder Cup time in Paris later this year.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home