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19th Hole

Justin Thomas on being dropped by Ralph Lauren: ‘I put them in a terrible position’

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Justin Thomas is in action in Abu Dhabi this week and has spoken for the first time since Ralph Lauren ended their relationship following a slur Thomas made at the Tournament of Champions.

Speaking to media at the European Tour event, the 27-year-old said

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

Ralph Lauren severed ties with JT last weekend, and its a decision which Thomas understands as he admitted that he put them in a “terrible position”.

“They just felt like they needed to move on. That’s exactly what I’m doing, as well. It was a great run that we had and a great partnership, but you know, things will work out for the best. Just like my other partners and other sponsorships, it was an opportunity for them to help me, just like I hope to help them. But like I said, they had to do what they had to do.

They are a huge, huge global brand, and I have to respect their decision. I wasn’t disappointed, because I put them in a terrible position. I just was more upset.”

Thomas also discussed his excellent relationship with the global brand and how he believes that he will become a better man and person due to what happened.

“I had a great relationship with a lot of people there, and like I said, we would have had the opportunity to do it together, and I totally respect their decision and I’ve moved on from it. I’ve had great communication with all of them.

 It was obviously not calls or emails I was hoping or planning to make, but I needed to because I have some great long-lasting partnerships with all my sponsors. They know that’s not the person that I am. They know that’s not how I act and although they are far from brushing it to the side just like I am, they understand that this is an opportunity for me to educate myself, grow, become a better person. 

I know that I’ll become a better man and a better person because of it, and they are going to kind of help me along that process.”

As for what’s next apparel wise for Thomas, on Monday in Abu Dhabi he was still wearing an RLX shirt at the course. However, per Golf Monthly’s Joel Tadman, JT wore a Peter Millar polo shirt and mid-layer in Abu Dhabi yesterday and today with his RLX shorts, which he sourced himself.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

19th Hole

Nick Faldo takes ‘unnecessary’ swipe at Rickie Fowler on social media

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Rickie Fowler’s 2021 hasn’t begun as he’d hoped, with just one top-20 finish in five starts leaving him now sitting 65th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

As an appearance at the 2021 Masters event looks more and more unlikely, the 32-year-old opened up on his frustrations with his game and himself, telling reporters before this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational:

“It’s very frustrating. It’s made it at times tough between Joe and I on the course. We have a great relationship, we have known each other for a long time, but when I’m out there, and I’m not hitting shots that I’m visualizing and seeing, it’s hard.

It’s tough for all of us that are involved, from my caddie, to my wife—she’s having to deal with me at home.”

In a strange twist, Fowler’s openness about his frustration has led to the 6-time major champ, now turned golf analyst Nick Faldo taking a swipe at the Californian.

In a tweet responding to Fowler’s words in an article on Golf Digest, Faldo sarcastically posted: “Good news is if he misses the Masters he can shoot another six commercials that week!”

Faldo’s tweet has split users on the social media site, with some people describing the comments as “unnecessary” and “lacking respect”, while others have interpreted the statement as playful ribbing.

However, Faldo then doubled down on his take after receiving criticism from some golf fans, making reference to his three green jacket victories – with Fowler still searching for his maiden major win.

With Rickie needing to crack the top-50 in the world to qualify for the Masters, maybe Faldo’s comment will spark the revival needed, starting this week at Bay Hill.

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19th Hole

Claude Harmon III explains why he was fired by Brooks Koepka

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Brooks Koepka and Claude Harmon III’s split was a surprise when it was announced in January, and the swing coach has given his view on the break up this week on The Filthy Lipout Golf Podcast.

On the podcast, Harmon III stated that he believed that Brooks “wanted to hear something different”, bringing an end to their highly successful 8-year spell.

“I just got fired by Brooks Koepka. I was with Brooks for eight years. You know, I think you get players that say ‘Listen, I’m just tired of hearing the same thing’ and I’ve always been one that would say, ‘Well listen, I’m not gonna make stuff up, I can try and tell you something different but we kind of know what you do as a player and if you’ve had success.’

You know Brooks had an eight-year run of some incredible golf, and I think Brooks is at a stage of his career having gone through an injury where maybe he wants to hear something different and that kind of stuff happens.”

Harmon was told he was being let go by Koepka the Wednesday after the Masters.

Since the split, Koepka has won his first Tour event since 2019 at the Phoenix Open and backed that up with a runner-up finish last week at the WGC-Workday Championship.

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19th Hole

“I bet you didn’t know…” – Bay Hill edition

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The Bay Hill Club and Lodge has been the home to many great wins on the PGA Tour. From Robert Gamez’s hole-out at the last in 1990 to beat Greg Norman by a shot to Tiger Woods’ impressive 8 titles, a lot has happened at Arnie’s place.

But I bet you didn’t know…

In 1983, a young pro by the name of Mike Nicolette won his first and only PGA Tour event at Bay Hill when he beat Greg Norman along with a very stacked leader board—which included Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, and Tom Watson among others.

Although it was his first and only win on the PGA Tour, Mike went onto become a very successful club designer in the golf business, first at Ping, and now more notably as the Director at PXG.

Now you know.

 

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