'Crazy' Backstopping Controversy On PGA Tour

Backstopping controversy as one pro fails to mark or play his ball close to the pin.

Backstopping Controversy On PGA Tour

Andrew Putnam was slammed by Golf Channel commentators for failing to mark his ball during the final round at the Sony Open. By Lewis Blain.

'Crazy' Backstopping Controversy On PGA Tour

During the ninth hole at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday, Matt Kuchar was in the greenside bunker while Andrew Putnam's ball sat less than a few inches from the hole.

Putnam failed to mark his ball or, under the New Rules, tap his ball in with the flagstick left in, sparking outrage from the team of commentators.

Backstopping is when a player doesn't mark their ball near the hole as a playing partner proceeds to play a shot.

There is nothing illegal about it, unless it is very purposely done, but there are question marks whether it is ethically correct as it can give some players an advantage.

The player's ball can be replaced if it is hit so there is no risk of being in a worse off position.

Putnam held the lead at the time of the incident so there's no reason to suggest why he would want to help a trailing opponent.

Kuchar could have potentially used Putnam's ball to slow down his own in order to have the ball settle nicely near to the hole.

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"That's crazy, it really is," said Frank Nobilo.

"You ask any other generation and it's something that we have chatted about over the years - to provide a backstop, especially at this key moment. He had the option to run up there and tap it in, do whatever you want.

"Remember the Rules have changed, you are allowed to to putt with the flagstick in - do not leave it there!" lambasted Nobilo.

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Just last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Xander Schauffele appeared to do the same for Marc Leishman, leaving the ball just a foot away from the hole as the Australian proceeded to chip onto the green.

Back in July, 2016 USPGA champion Jimmy Walker sparked controversy of his own by stating: "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."

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