Justin Thomas had a fan kicked out for cheering against him

Kevin Kaduk
Devil Ball Golf

Justin Thomas won the eighth PGA Tour event of his career on Sunday, beating Luke List in a sudden-death playoff at the Honda Classic at PGA National.

One fan, however, wasn’t there to see it.

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year said after the tournament that he requested a fan be removed from the grounds on the back nine.

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The transgression? Twice cheering for Thomas’ shots to find water or a bunker.

Justin Thomas celebrates after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Justin Thomas celebrates after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Here’s what Thomas said about the incident (via Golf Digest):

“We were walking up on the [16th tee] and this guy, I don’t know who he was talking to, but sounds like it was [to] me,” Thomas said in his post-round presser. “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 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.”

If you’re one of those people who think this is the latest case of pro golfers being special little snowflakes, it’d be hard to argue with you. Professional athletes in other sports deal with much worse on a regular basis.

But if you’re a golfer or a golf fan, you know this isn’t something that’s tolerated on the golf course. Respect for other players is baked into the DNA of the game and going to a tournament usually isn’t about rooting for one player or another but appreciating the competition — and giving the golfers the space and atmosphere to achieve that.

So where do we fall on this? Well, without knowing all the details, perhaps the fan — who might’ve been a first-timer — could’ve been issued a stern warning  before being escorted out.

But if he did it the second time after being warned the first?

Well, then he earned that trip home.

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