2019 British Open champion has suggested moving on-course microphones “further from” golfers after Justin Thomas was recently heard using a homophobic slur.
Thomas was recently reprimanded during the Sentry Tournament of Champions PGA Tour event for an offensive comment after he missed a putt.
The American golfer was dropped by his sponsor Ralph Lauren as a result, with the clothing company saying his language was “inconsistent” with their values.
— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) December 22, 2020
While Lowry didn’t downplay Thomas’ offence, the Offaly native, who was caught out himself for bad language at the 2016 Honda Classic, believes microphones should not be so close to golfers during crucial plays.
“I got caught out before. I got penalised for it,” said Lowry, who called himself a f**king idiot on that occasion.
“It’s tricky. We’re out there, it’s your livelihood. You’re out there under high-pressure situations. The way I am, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I give my best every day. Sometimes I can get a bit hot under the collar.
“You need to be careful what you do say and you need to watch what you’re saying because people are watching at home. The microphones do get very close at times, especially when you’re under a high-pressure situation.
“I’m not condoning what anyone says, I’m not saying we should be allowed to say what we want, but if people keep getting caught out and people don’t like what they’re hearing, maybe it’s time to keep them [microphones] a bit further from us,” said ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
‘They’re going to let out anger’
While the Irishman wasn’t suggesting keeping microphones away from golfers at all times when they are on the course, he believes that players venting their frustrations during tense moments is inevitable.
“Phil Mickelson and Bones [his former caddie Jim Mackay] are famous for their conversations. There’s one from The Open of myself and Bo [Martin, his caddie] and it’s great in those situations that people really get to interact and see how we go about our business.
“But, in another situation, when people hit bad shots, they’re going to let out anger and you have to weigh up the options and see what’s the best,” Lowry commented.