Forget Tyson Fury versus that other guy. The most compelling sporting fight of the weekend took place on Twitter and it revolved around one thing: backstopping.
It’s all anybody in golf has been talking about for the last few days.
It all kicked off when former European Tour former Michael Clayton tweeted footage of Ben An and John Huh ‘helping each other’, which he called ‘a joke’.
Here’s the clip…
Ben An and John Huh helping each other out here. What a joke. pic.twitter.com/k9chMb8FVD— Michael Clayton (@MichaelClayto15) June 8, 2018
The root of Clayton’s disapproval was that it appeared to be an example of ‘backstopping’, a long-mooted-but-seldom-proven case of tour pros purposefully not marking their ball in order to give their playing partners a ‘safety net’ to slow down a shot with too much pace.
The video provoked a huge response, with most people agreeing with Clayton that it’s not a particularly good or sportsmanlike habit.
Former US PGA champion Jimmy Walker, however, disagreed.
Usually a guy will ask if he would like to mark it. If you don’t like a guy you will mark anyway. If you like the guy you might leave it to help on a shot. Some guys don’t want to give help at all and rush to mark their ball. To each his own.— Jimmy Walker (@JimmyWalkerPGA) June 9, 2018
Then this happened…
So that was Saturday.
Then former world No.1 and recently appointed Ryder Cup vice-captain Lee Westwood got involved...
@MichaelClayto15 is correct. The ball should be marked. A player has a responsibility to the rest of the field.— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) June 10, 2018
Back came Jimmy.
So you have never asked a player if he would like your ball marked. I find that hard to believe.— Jimmy Walker (@JimmyWalkerPGA) June 10, 2018
No. Never. You would find it hard to believe if you think it acceptable to intentionally leave your ball there to possibly assist your playing partner. Ask a rules official at your next tournament to see what they think. My opinion is that you have a responsibility to the field.— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) June 11, 2018
Westwood's fellow Ryder Cup vice-captain Luke Donald also had his say...
Every time I play an event, my goal is to shoot a lower score over 72 holes than everyone else playing, so why on earth would I intentionally help a fellow competitor by not marking my ball!! #backstopping— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) June 10, 2018
Of course, Westwood couldn't resist a jokey little nibble at that.
Not even me? Your best friend!😂— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) June 11, 2018
Fun times all round!
Of course, there is only really one thing that matters in all of this - the rules. And unfortunately for Walker's case, they don't make great reading...
Per the discussion of the morning in golf: decision 22-6... pic.twitter.com/wx1EefWQq0— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 10, 2018
WATCH - Improve your chipping control
Of course, if you're a top quality, confident chipper, you really shouldn't need to overly concern yourself with things like backstopping. Watch this vid to see how you can improve your control around the greens...