Players 2020: Scott Piercy speaks about being dropped by sponsors for offensive Instagram post
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH — On Wednesday, Scott Piercy played a practice round at TPC Sawgrass in an outfit that is unusual for any player on the PGA Tour much less one who has won four times and earned more than $20 million in career money: He was logo-less. A day later, in the opening round of the Players Championship, he wore another nondescript getup that he bought from a store devoid of the usual variety of company names that typically adorn hats, shirts and sleeves to Nascar-like levels.
This is the new reality for the 41-year-old, who a week ago posted a homophobic meme on Instagram about former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay, and another referencing far-right conspiracy theorists of QAnon, which is believed by federal officials to be linked to domestic terrorism. In the aftermath of those posts, Piercy took to social media again and said that he wanted to “apologize if any of my recent story posts have been offensive” and that he will “do better.”
But the damage was already done. He was soon dropped by all five of his sponsors, including Titleist, FootJoy and J Lindeberg.
“Yeah [it has been tough week],” Piercy said after his opening round at TPC Sawgrass. “People got the wrong idea of me.”
Thursday’s round was emblematic of the unsettling few days Piercy has experienced of late. After missing the cut last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his first start since the initial posts, he mixed five birdies with five bogeys en route to an even-par 72 on an otherwise warm and sunny day at TPC Sawgrass.
“I drove it well, but made three bogeys with wedges from the middle of the fairway,” he said. “As a top PGA Tour player, you can’t do that.”
Of course it also hurts to make the sort of mistakes that Piercy did with his social-media posts—he lost a reported $2 million as a result. An apology using the word “if” probably didn’t help matters.
His actions also drew the attention of the PGA Tour. On Wednesday, commissioner Jay Monahan addressed Piercy’s posts.
“My reaction was one of significant disappointment” Monahan said. "That post does not convey the values that we have as a Tour, and certainly doesn't convey our interest in making certain that golf is inclusive for all, an inclusive sport for all ... that post itself is a violation of our policy.”
Although the tour does not disclose fines or punishments, there are regulations for members that address unbecoming conduct, and the commissioner has the ability to hand out punishments.
“I'm not going to speak to the disciplinary action or the disciplinary side of this, but it's something that we take very seriously,” Monahan said. “He knows that. I think [Piercy] at some point in time will address that.”
For now, though, Piercy would prefer to just focus on playing golf.
“I’ll address it at a later date,” he said. “I’ve said I’m really sorry, and I’ve apologized once for it [but] that’s on me.”