Golf star Justin Thomas stripped of sponsorship millions after homophobic slur on course

Thomas said he was "extremely embarrassed" - GETTY IMAGES
Thomas said he was "extremely embarrassed" - GETTY IMAGES

Ralph Lauren, the American fashion house, has terminated its multi-million dollar sponsorship of Justin Thomas after the golfer used a homophobic slur during a tournament round.

Thomas, the world No 3, was heard using a derogatory word towards himself after missing a par putt on the fourth hole at Kapalua, Hawaii, during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions last weekend.

The 27-year-old American later apologised for the remark and said there was "no excuse".

He added: "I'm an adult, I'm a grown man. There's absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It's terrible. I'm extremely embarrassed."

However, Ralph Lauren has now announced it is severing ties with the golfer.

The clothing brand said in a statement: "We are disheartened by Mr Thomas's recent language, which is entirely inconsistent with our values.

"While we acknowledge that he has apologised and recognises the severity of his words, he is a paid ambassador of our brand and his actions conflict with the inclusive culture that we strive to uphold.

"In reflecting on the responsibility we have to all of our stakeholders, we have decided to discontinue our sponsorship of Mr Thomas at this time."

Former golfer Paige Spiranac defended Justin Thomas, saying he should not be "cancelled" - GETTY IMAGES
Former golfer Paige Spiranac defended Justin Thomas, saying he should not be "cancelled" - GETTY IMAGES

The Ralph Lauren Corporation did, however, leave the door open to renewing their partnership with Thomas.

Its statement concluded: "As we make this decision, our hope is that Mr Thomas does the hard and necessary work in order to partner with us again - truly examining this incident, learning, growing and ultimately using his platform to promote inclusion."

Thomas is expected to be fined by the PGA Tour for the incident. It said in a statement: "As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin's comment was unacceptable."

Paige Spiranac, the former professional golfer, signalled her support for Thomas on Twitter, insisting he should not be "cancelled".

She wrote: "You can give raw emotion without being racist or homophobic. There are certain words that should not be said or tolerated.

"He should not be cancelled and I'm glad that he apologised.

"But no one should ever defend the word he used."

Thomas, whose worth has been estimated at around £30 million, reportedly earns around £1.5 million a year from endorsements.