Justin Thomas fumes at golf rules during US Open after honesty costs him dear

Justin Thomas fumes at golf rules during US Open after honesty costs him dear

Justin Thomas railed against the rules of golf – GETTY IMAGES

Justin Thomas railed against the rules of golf here during the third round of the US Open, labeling a regulation that caused him to drop as a shot as “bulls***”.

Thomas, the world No 5 who won his second major at last month’s US PGA Championship, was denied relief after his drive on the fourth came to rest a few inches to the right of a drain.

Under Rule 16.1, if player’s ball touches or is on an abnormal course condition, if it physically interferes with the area of ​​intended stance and swing, then a drop is allowed without penalty.

However, after Thomas – whose mood had not been helped when the starter announced him on the first tee as “Justin Thomson” (watch video below) – called an official for a ruling, he was asked if it “interferes with his stance or his swing” and after answers to the negative, he was obliged to play it as it lies.

Somewhat invitably, he hit the wedge fat and it came up 50 yards short in a bunker. “That’s what p—–s me off,” Thomas told caddie Jim Mackay. “So many other people would lie about being able to hit that… That’s bulls***, man.”

Later, he was rather more circumspect. “I could have told her [the referee] that I was going to [hit the drain] and got a free drop, but in the spirit of the game I didn’t,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate because it was a great drive, and I had a pitching wedge in my hands, and I could only hit the ball 100 yards. It’s very clear that my stance was altered and the ball was sitting bad because of that drain (watch video below).”

Looking for a low round to thrust himself back into contention, Thomas, 29, could only manage a 73 to stand on two-over and although he will take heart from his comeback heroics in Tulsa four weeks ago – he overhauled a seven-shot deficit in the final round – The Country Club is a tough place to charge.

Will Zalatoris, the 25-year-old California, showed what was possible in the tough, windy conditions, firing a brilliant 67 featuring four birdies and the solitary bogey. Zalatoris is emerging as a perennial challenger in the majors, despite not having yet broken his duck on the PGA Tour.

He was beaten by Thomas in a play-off at the US PGA and also finished second in last year’s Masters. But those close calls are not the whole of it. In seven major starts, Zalatoris has racked up five top eights. And this looks like being another.

There is no LIV Golf presence at the business end of the leaderboard. Fifteen of the players who have signed with the Saudi rebel circuit set out here in Boston, but only four survived the cut. Dustin Johnson is the best-placed on two-over, following a 71, while Richard Bland, the 49-year-old defector from Southampton, is on four-over after a 72.

LIV’s next $25 million, no-cut event is in 12 days time in Portland, Oregon. That 48-man field is set to be announced early next week and rumours are rife that there could be a few new big names in the ranks, with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama a strong mention in the locker room.

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