Justin Thomas responds to USGA's claim he canceled meetings: 'It really hurt me'

What a weird week at the Honda Classic. Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler got bested by a relative unknown. Vijay Singh contended. Ernie Els sort of contended. And maybe most prominently of all, Justin Thomas and the USGA engaged in a very public fracas.

The USGA's public relations Twitter account clapped back at Thomas after he criticized the way the USGA has communicated to the players regarding the big rules changes of 2019 and beyond. The incident at hand at the Honda Class seemed to be a ruling where PGA Tour player Adam Schenk got a penalty because his caddie stood behind him while he addressed the ball in the bunker.

Thomas certainly isn't the only one to critique the USGA, and he's not the first one. But here we are.

So yeah, that's not a thing I saw coming. On Sunday, Thomas noted that it was both inaccurate about him and frustrating to him. 

"It was a little shocking," said Thomas. "You know, I've had communication with the USGA, and I've talked with a couple of people about how I feel about having conversations with them, about what myself and the players think. It was a little upsetting just because it was inaccurate. I haven't canceled anything, especially any meetings, but it is what it is. All I want is the best for the game of golf and the best for the sport, and that's what we're going to continue to try to communicate with each other to get that."

The USGA's PR account also tweeted something similar four hours after the original call out.

Thomas, who noted that he and the USGA are "definitely going to talk at some point," said he's been busy with three events in three weeks and hasn't had time to chat. 

"It is unfortunate," he added. "It really hurt me. It was upsetting to me because ... the information they put out there was inaccurate in terms of me cancelling meetings, and that doesn't make me look good. And that's just when I got a little upset, and then we had talked some communication with them because I know those guys -- I've talked to them, and I've talked to them about the rules this year. 

"We've all tried to communicate and tried to get better relationships with them. It's just -- it is what it is, and all we're looking is to better the sport and better the game."

The USGA's relationship with pros on the PGA Tour has been tenuous in recent years (maybe always), and it doesn't sound like it's getting a lot better. The folks who make the rules were mocked by Rickie Fowler at the Honda Classic before engaging in this spat with J.T.

So who knows where this is headed -- some think it's pointing toward a monster incident or showdown at a major championship later this year -- but one thing has been confirmed by the way players have interpreted the new rules and the USGA's involvement with them. This is nothing more than a new battlefield -- months preceding the normal one at the U.S. Open! -- for two superpowers of golf (its stars and its governing body) to engage in the minute warfare such parties love to engage in. The only thing that's new is the medium on which it is playing out. 

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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