Andrew Putnam slammed for backstopping incident

Golf Channel commentators bewildered by Putnam's 'crazy' decision.

Jack Seddon's picture
Mon, 14 Jan 2019

Another backstopping incident has caused controversy on the PGA Tour, and Golf Channel commentators couldn't believe what they were seeing.



Backstopping on Tour is when a player fails to mark their ball near the hole and another player hits hit. Just to be clear, there is nothing illegal about this as the player whose ball was hit can replace it and the player who struck the other ball will get to play their next shot from where it finished, which is usually in a better position as it's hit a ball close to the pin.

Matt Kuchar was in the greenside bunker on the 9th during the Sony Open, with Andrew Putnam's ball a few inches from the pin after he decided not to mark his ball or simply tap it in the hole. 

Putnam had a one-shot lead over Kuchar at the time of the incident, making the backstopping situation even more bizarre. Kuchar could have flown out the bunker with a bit too much pace, struck Putnam's ball which would slow Kuchar's down and possibly leave it right by, or even in, the hole.

As Kuchar addressed his ball in the bunker, Nobilo, Jim Mackay and Steve Sans began to discuss the controversial topic of backstopping on the Golf Channel broadcast.

“That’s crazy,” said Nobilo. “It really is.

“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,” Nobilo added. “(Putnam) had the option to run up there and tap it in, do whatever you want. Remember the rules changed, you are allowed to putt with the flag in - do not leave it there!”

“One of these days that’s going to happen,” Sands said.

“It’s going to cost someone,” Nobilo continued. “Can you image if Matt’s bunker shot is going fast and actually hits the ball and goes in?”