'So Many Others Would Lie' - Thomas On Unlucky Ruling At US Open

Justin Thomas was left frustrated after not being granted relief from a drain on the fairway

Thomas stands over his shot whilst the ball rests near a drain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Thomas went on a slight rant during his third round at the US Open when, at the 4th hole, he was forced to play his approach shot although the ball was resting right next to a drain.

After a well-placed drive found the fairway, the recent PGA Championship winner's ball finished just to the right of a drain. After not getting relief, Thomas chunked his second shot into the greenside bunker at the front of the green, with his outburst being caught on hot-mic.

As the ball found the bunker, viewers could hear JT say: "That's what p****s me off is that so many other people would lie about being able to hit that, but it’s just like, I’m not going to hit it. That’s b******t, man."

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Under Rule 16a - "Interference exists when any one of these is true: Your ball touches or is in or on an abnormal course condition. An abnormal course condition physically interferes with your area of intended stance or area of intended swing," or "Only when your ball is on the putting green, an abnormal course condition on or off the putting green intervenes on your line of play."

Following the incident, Thomas would fail to get up-and-down, moving to one-over-par for his round and two-over for the tournament, some seven shots back of overnight leaders Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen.

There have been controversial moments involving sprinklers/drains this season. At the 2022 WGC-Match Play, Thomas Pieters was denied a free drop after his ball had landed on a sprinkler head. While this would typically entitle a player to a free drop, the sprinkler head was touching a red line marking the penalty area. After consulting with a PGA Tour official, Pieters was frustrated to learn he was being denied the free drop. 

What's more, an hour later, Bryson DeChambeau was awarded a free drop even though his ball landed on the same sprinkler head. Once the hole was completed, a rules official was quickly on the scene to spray paint the grass over the sprinkler head green, removing the offending red line.

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.