REUTERS: World number three Justin Thomas said he was deeply apologetic after using a homophobic slur during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Saturday.
Thomas, the defending champion at the US$6.7 million event, missed a five-foot putt on the fourth hole after which he uttered the slur which was picked up by a television microphone.
"There's just no excuse," the 27-year-old American told Golf Channel. "There's absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It's terrible. It's not the kind of person that I am."
"I need to do better. I deeply apologise to anyone and everybody who I offended and I'll be better because of it," he added.
Thomas fired an eagle and six birdies on Saturday for a five-under 68. He heads into Sunday's final round in a tie for fifth place at 17 under, four shots behind leaders Ryan Palmer and Harris English.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)