Amy Olson Responds To Backstopping Claims

The American denies any wrongdoing after she benefitted on a chip shot from Ariya Jutanugarn leaving her ball next to the hole

Amy Olson Responds To Backstopping Claims
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The American denies any wrongdoing after she benefitted on a chip shot from Ariya Jutanugarn leaving her ball next to the hole

Amy Olson Responds To Backstopping Claims

Amy Olson found herself in a backstopping social media storm at the weekend after footage on Twitter showed her chipping her ball and stopping it with Ariya Jutanugarn's.

The footage was widely viewed online, which showed the pair fist-bump after the incident, which came after Olson declined Jutanugarn's offer of marking her ball.

The situation looked very dodgy when applying the Rules, but the LPGA Tour released a statement that no breach of Rule 15.3a had occurred and that Olson made Jutanugarn leave her ball by the flag to maintain the pace of play.

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It reads:

"After speaking with Amy Olson and Ariya Jutanugarn, the LPGA Rules Committee determined that there was no breach of Rule 15.3a. There was no agreement by either player to leave Jutanugarn’s ball in place to help Olson’s next stroke. An LPGA Rules Official was approaching the 18th green at the time and agreed that no breach had occurred."

"Rule 15.3a clearly states that for a breach to occur, that two or more players, must agree to leave a ball in place to help any player on her next stroke. This was not the case between Olson and Jutanugarn."

"Olson quickly played strictly to maintain pace of play, with her ball accidentally striking Jutanugarn's ball on the green. Jutanugarn's ball was properly replaced."

What is Rule 15.3a?

15.3a/1 – Breach of Rule for Leaving Helping Ball in Place Does Not Require Knowledge

In stroke play, under Rule 15.3a, if two or more players agree to leave a ball in place on the putting green to help any player, and the stroke is made with  the helping ball left in place, each player who made the agreement gets two penalty strokes. A breach of Rule 15.3a does not depend on whether the players know that such an agreement is not allowed.

For example, in stroke play, before playing from just off the putting green, a player asks another player to leave his or her ball that is near the hole, in order to use it as a backstop. Without knowing this is not allowed, the other player agrees to leave his or her ball by the hole to help the other player. Once the stroke is made with the ball in place, both players get the penalty under Rule 15.3a.

The same outcome would apply if the player whose ball was near the hole offered to leave the ball in play to help the other player, and the other player accepted the offer and then played.

If the players know that they are not allowed to make such an agreement, but still do it, they are both disqualified under Rule 1.3b(1) for deliberately ignoring Rule 15.3a.

Amy Olson has responded to the criticism she received, describing the last two days as "some of the hardest I've had to go through."

She also described the situation as "innocent" and that there was "no collusion and no intent".

Read her statement below:

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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x