‘We need to talk’: USGA To Justin Thomas after rant against latest penalty

by Samuel Abasi Posted on March 3rd, 2019

There was some backlash across social media Saturday after golfer Adam Schenk was assessed a two-stroke penalty for a rules violation that occurred in the second round of the Honda Classic.

Schenk’s caddie stood behind him once he was in his stance on the 17th hole Friday. The penalty wasn’t announced until Saturday. It changed the bogey Schenk recorded on the par-3 17th on Friday to a triple.

Justin Thomas, who rallied with a 67 on Saturday after a 74 the day before — due to what he called a “dead arm” — was vociferous in his reaction to the penalty handed to Schenk and how the USGA seems to dispense justice these days. Thomas’ posts and comments on Twitter eventually drew a response from the media relations wing of the USGA.

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 5 events, and tournaments last year, and your tour has had a seat at the table for 7 years. We’d love nothing more than to give you a seat. Call us.— USGA PR (@USGA_PR) March 2, 2019

His self-described rant began with a somewhat sarcastic post subtweeting a post from PGA Tour Communications announcing the 2-stroke penalty assessed against Schenk.

#growthegame@USGAhttps://t.co/jc5E0Y7TjP— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) March 2, 2019
JT was just getting warmed up. This post got more than 1,500 likes and more than 100 comments. Some of which Thomas responded to himself.

When asked specifically what he disliked about the caddie rule, Thomas took nearly full advantage of Twitter’s 280-character limit.

“My problem with the rule is that unless a caddie is clearly lining a player up (which is very obvious), I don’t see how there’s any benefit to it. Doesn’t make the game any better in my eyes. That being said, we know the rule and have to be careful to go by it,” Thomas wrote.

One user criticized Thomas for complaining, period. “The game needs the support of its top players not a bashing every time someone gets penalized. Stoking the fire on twitter does more harm than good,” the user wrote.

Thomas fired back, making a reference to the two-penalty assessed against Denny McCarthy during Round 2 of Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“Really? Because last I checked in PHX my pointing out what happened to Denny went viral… and the rule was changed. Pretty sad the world we live in nowadays is all based off social media. But that’s how a lot of things get done. I (and others) are doing as much as we can to help,” Thomas posted on Twitter

McCarthy was penalized under Rule 10.2b(4), which does not allow caddies to stand behind players as they line up. The PGA Tour, however, rescinded the penalty a day later.

Thomas, who often engages fans and media via Twitter and his other social platforms, continued the give-and-take.

Another Twitter user asked Thomas why he “didn’t speak up after Sunday’s round in LA? Would have been a perfect spot to voice your displeasure with slow play which will cripple pro golf if isn’t figured out.”

Thomas lost the Genesis Open to J.B. Holmes after a brutal, wind-hampered final round that took 5 hours, 29 minutes to complete. Holmes was blasted across the golf spectrum for his slow play.

“I get that… but that isn’t who I am to name people out individually. Especially after losing, I got beat. I didn’t lose because of that reason. Just not the right way to go about it in my opinion,” Thomas posted.

Thomas offered this response to another user who posted: #playbytherulesitsnothard.

Totally agree… I more so say things in hopes that the USGA starts communicating with the current players to better the game and the sport. The rules are rules, no getting past that. Just hoping going forward, communication is had and ALL GOLFERS benefit from any changes ?? https://t.co/86TE7L8AnR— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) March 2, 2019

Thomas eventually tapped out.

Enough twitter ranting for me today ?as anybody who follows me knows, I’m always honest and speak what’s on my mind. The intent of everything I say is to get the game of golf and the @PGATOUR better. I enjoy/take pride in trying to do as much positive as possible. I’m out! ✌️— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) March 2, 2019

After all, he does have 18 holes to play Sunday and an 11:15 a.m. tee time Sunday.

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