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Twitter is a notoriously divided place. Ironically, it took a wall to unite it. 

The blue advertising structure positioned behind the par-5 18th green at Mission Hills Country Club, host of the ANA Inspiration, was roundly condemned by social media users for the ultimately decisive role in played in deciding this year’s winner of the women’s major.

With the tournament taking place behind closed doors this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials took the unorthodox step of replacing the grandstand behind the green on 18 with a blue wall bearing the logo of the event sponsor, Japanese airline ANA.

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A smart commercial move… but a disaster for sporting integrity.

With the structure needlessly inserted, the water behind the green was largely taken out of play and replaced, instead, by a backstop that players could use to go for the green in two without having to worry about the consequences of over-cooking their shots. 

Ana Inspiration Wall

Should the wall impede their swing, for instance, they could claim free relief.

That’s what Mirim Lee did in the final round. When her approach to the green hit the wall, she was given free relief – and promptly chipped in for eagle. 

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Brooke Henderson also got free relief after her ball came to rest underneath the wall after she also went for the green in two. Had the backboard not been in play, her ball would have trickled into the water, ending her title prospects. 

Instead, she was able to take free relief, pitch up and make birdie, tying Lee for the clubhouse lead. 

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Long-time leader Nelly Korda was unable to go for the green in two after finding the rough off the tee. She laid up and two-putted for a par. 

Lee would go on to win the play-off to secure her first major title. Many, though, were unhappy at the circumstances which led to it and vented their frustration on Twitter…

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