Is Jimmy Walker Cheating?

A back-burner topic had the heat turned up this week as 2016 PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker waded into the controversial waters that surround the practice of “backstopping.”

Backstopping is the act of players intentionally not marking their balls on the green while other playing competitors approach the surface, offering their competitors an opportunity to stop their ball quickly. 

Unmarked Ball Costs Phil Mickelson Over $100,000
 

The debate has been simmering for quite some time and reared its head most notably during this season’s Safeway Open, so when former European and Australian Tour player Michael Clayton posted a video of what appeared to be a clear instance of backstopping during the FedEx St. Jude Classic calling it “a joke,” Walker weighed in.

 

Walker, who later admitted he didn’t know who Clayton was, called out the former pro.

The rule in question is Rule 22-1, Ball Assisting or Interfering with Play, which states in part, “In stroke play, if the Committee determines that competitors have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any competitor, they are disqualified.”

 

The burden of proof here is difficult, as Golf Channel analyst Jim Gallagher, Jr. argued in the video above. 

“I’ve talked to a lot of the PGA Tour (rules) officials and they’re aware of it, but you just have to prove that’s what they’re doing,” Gallagher, Jr. said. “It’s hard to prove that.”

Walker was able to add more context to his comments on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills. 

Where do you stand on the backstopping debate as a whole and Walker’s stance in particular? Let us know in the comments below. 

 

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