Backstopping - time to end this farce


#1

Sick and tired of seeing pro players have ample time to mark their ball, while a fellow competitor prepares to chip or play a bunker shot, only for the ball to be left near the hole, so as to potentially aid a shot that is coming in too fast.

Silent collusion among Tour professionals. They bat it away as something that slows down play, which is a baseless lie. Or alternatively, guys like Jimmy Walker, as seen on Twitter today, freely admit they help others out by continuing the practice.

The final sentence of Rule 22-1 states “in stroke play, if the committee determines that players have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any competitor, they are disqualified”.

Time for the Tour to grow a pair and end this egregious practice. And for foolish types like Walker to actually smarten up and realise it could cost them considerably. Not to mention that they are breaking the Rules when continuing to backstop with a silent nod and a wink.


#2

I get the sentiment of protecting the field, however I don’t mind backstopping. I think the outrage over it is overblown.

I get it. Perhaps it is unfair to get an advantage over the field simply because your playing partner hit it to a certain spot. But is this really any different than getting a putting read from another player? Or perhaps switching clubs after you see your playing partners coming short?

Isn’t this unfair to the rest of the field too? Ernie arguably lost a Masters because of this. I can’t ever remember any significant changes due to backstopping. It hardly ever works anyway.


#3

I think backstopping is kinda different from those examples. In those cases, you’re using observational data to influence the outcome of your next shot. In backstopping, you’re using physical, tangible objects to influence the outcome of your next shot.

The outrage is indeed overblown, I think, but it’s also an easily fixable problem - just mark the ball more often, in reasonable situations.


#4

Yea… they aren’t literally the exact same thing.

But the end result (getting an advantage over the field bc of the acts of your playing partner) is essentially the same. The real difference of course is the ethical considerations - backstopping is frowned upon, the others aren’t.

The odds of having an opportunity to backstop, and it actually helping you, are so fucking small idk why this even matters. There are so many other unfair variables that come into play based on who you play with, and when you play, idk why this gets any attention.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. If someone does something that you think is unethical, you’re supposed to go on TV or the internet and complain about how bad it is and how outraged you are to show how good of a person you are.


#5

One is also allowed to express dismay and concern for a game they love, when players at the pinnacle of the sport disregard rules.


#6

Someone tell jimmy Walker that we don’t need a telescope to see his bullshit from the couch. Protect the damn field!


#7

On the one hand, how much does it actually help? The ball is less than half the size of the hole so it’s not like players are bouncing balls off each other all the time. How many times have we seen backstopping working in an important match? It’s like placing a single sandbag on a beach to stop an approaching tsunami - cute, but utterly pointless.

On the other hand, it’s supposed to be a scrupulously honest game. In fact we laud players who call rules offences on themselves when they could have gotten away with it.

The bigger question for me is the factor of idiot Jimmy Walker is for a) nonchlantly mentioning in a public place that he casually breaks the rules as a matter of habit without thought to the consequences of that admittance, and b) not bothering to pass a cursory glance at who he was talking to before making snarky comments about it being hard on tour. I’ve always kinda liked Walker. Everyone loves a journeyman who now and again gets it done. But I find it tough to root for morons. I just do.


#8

BlockquoteThe bigger question for me is the factor of idiot Jimmy Walker is for a) nonchlantly mentioning in a public place that he casually breaks the rules as a matter of habit without thought to the consequences of that admittance, and b) not bothering to pass a cursory glance at who he was talking to before making snarky comments about it being hard on tour. I’ve always kinda liked Walker. Everyone loves a journeyman who now and again gets it done. But I find it tough to root for morons. I just do.

This. I was stunned reading the back and forth between him and Clayton and thought he had to be joking.

Remember the guy from the Euro Tour 5 or 6 years ago that was suspended for (allegedly) habitually tapping down spike marks in his line? How is this not the same, or worse? We can debate all day about the merits of the rule, but the rule itself is pretty clear.


#9

They’re completely different, getting a read or getting a club off another player still requires you to execute the shot to gain the advantage, backstopping can completely bailout an otherwise horrid shot.


#10

ICYMI - here is an example from earlier this year where backstopping directly impacted the outcome of a tournament and certainly cost a few guys some cash.


#11

I think this is the ONLY known example of backstopping having a somewhat significant impact.

Sure, there are others. Not every golf shot is televised. But still, this is so rare that all the fuss about it is odd.