Lee Westwood has joined the "backstop" debate over gamesmanship just days before the US Open, saying players have a “responsibility to the field” and should always mark their ball.
He was replying to Jimmy Walker, the 2016 PGA champion, who had earlier taken aim at Westwood, saying on Twitter that he found it hard to believe that the Englishman did not help out other golfers by leaving his ball when it is on the green close to the pin, rather than picking it up and marking the spot where it stopped.
This so that his opponent could use it as a backstop if they were having to make a tricky shot that might need stopping.
Walker said: “I try to help everyone. Especially if they got a bad break or got short sided. I’ve asked, ‘do you want me to leave the ball?’.
“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.”
Walker, meanwhile, has been directed to the United States Golf Association rulebook by Michael Clayton, a former tour professional of more than 20 years.
Rule 22 says: “In strokeplay, if the committee determines that competitors have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any competitor, they are disqualified.”
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