Donald apologizes for Twitter blunder

NORTON, Mass. — Luke Donald apologized Sunday for criticizing golf course architect Gil Hanse in a tweet that was meant to be private.

Donald made bogey on the par-5 18th hole at the TPC Boston, where Hanse reconfigured the green to make it smaller and feature severe slopes off the edges. Donald thought he was sending a direct message Saturday, but instead the tweet went public.

First, he published his cell phone number. His next tweet said, “Gil Hanse is a (expletive). Haha.”

Within minutes, Donald realized his mistake and deleted both tweets. By then, a few bloggers had captured them and posted them on the Internet.

“I made a mistake, unfortunately,” Donald said after his third round. “I sent a message that was not meant to go out on Twitter, and I take full responsibility. I realized it immediately, tried to delete it and tried to move on. Unfortunately, it got caught up there, and such is life. I didn’t mean to put it out there, and I apologize to anyone I offense, especially Gil Hanse.”

Hanse, who was selected to design the Olympic golf course in Rio for the 2016 Games, took no offense.

“No apology was needed,” Hanse said. “I realize it was supposed to be private. Everything’s cool.”

Equally tough on Donald was sending his cell phone number out on Twitter. Asked how many phone calls he received, Donald smiled and said, “I shut my phone off, actually. It was ringing pretty hard. Probably a new number is in store for me. That’s what I deserve.”

Donald, who was No. 1 in the world until Rory McIlroy replaced him by winning the PGA Championship, had a mild manner though he is not shy about offering his opinions. He used Twitter in January to complain about slow play, and he is not afraid to exchange banter with McIlroy during their battle for No. 1 or any other player.

“It’s certainly a powerful tool, and you’ve got to be very aware of it,” Donald said. “There’s a certain addiction to Twitter. It’s that constant update that everyone enjoys. But probably wise if I took a little bit of a hiatus maybe.”

He has not tweeted since Saturday evening, when he said there was nothing worse than hitting his best shot of the day and making bogey on what he called a terribly redesigned 18th hole at TPC Boston.

“I’m still not keen on it,” he said. “I think the tour has done a great job in terms of making this course a lot better. I just think some of the design in that hole is a little severe. Obviously, I was pretty heated, and certainly by the time that message went out, I had calmed down a lot. But it certainly wasn’t meant to be public.”

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