We’ve gone through the top social media moments of the year, but those did not include any Twitter fights.
That’s because those have a list all for themselves.
Golfweek has compiled the top social media spats/discussions of 2017, putting together a list that includes battles about Tiger Woods’ swing, Rory McIlroy’s motivation, Official World Golf Ranking bias and more. And yes, there is plenty of Brandel Chamblee. (The lead image might’ve tipped that off.)
This list isn’t without lighthearted discussions, although arguments make up the vast majority.
Without further ado, golf’s top Twitter spats/discussions of 2017…
• • •
Rory McIlroy takes on Brandel Chamblee over driving mechanics
Well, we said there would be plenty of Brandel…
Rory McIlroy and the Golf Channel analyst already had a Twitter history, as the pair had gotten into it in 2016 over the Northern Irishman’s workout habits.
This time around, it had nothing to do with McIlroy in particular. Simply, Chamblee was tweeting about how hitting down on the ball while driving was most effective.
Among those was McIlroy, who came at Chamblee with this direct tweet…
And then this cheeky one…
All in all, this was actually pretty cordial. It’s not a heated spat, although the two parties clearly disagreed. McIlroy would explain soon after that he agrees with Chamblee a lot and thinks he’s very knowledgable.
In this instance, though…
“If I see someone that makes a comment about something that they’re maybe not quite as up on as some other things … You have a platform where you can reach a lot of people, and sometimes if what you’re telling them is misguided or not quite correct, you don’t know where that information can flow to,” McIlroy said. “So sometimes I just try to not right wrongs, but at least give a factual side to the story. … I just like to be objective at times, and just try to set the story straight, I guess.”
With that attitude, McIlroy obviously wasn’t going to stop in 2017 here. Speaking of that…
Steve Elkington calls out Rory McIlroy, who comes back hard
What was that about trying to set the story straight?
McIlroy was at it again when Steve Elkington, for some reason, decided to question the 28-year-old’s motivation.
We get Elkington won a major and 10 PGA Tour titles in his day, but this was an *interesting* avenue to undertake. And McIlroy shut this one down right quick.
Yeah, question a four-time major champion still in his younger years at your own peril. Elkington actually kept going, but McIlroy had another rebuttal to get him out of the way.
If Elkington wants to take any solace, this spat convinced McIlroy to ban himself from social media and give over control of his Twitter account to his wife, Erica.
So we may not get McIlroy’s penchant for intriguing Twitter battles in 2018, but he did more than enough to entertain us here this year.
Ian Poulter mocks Brandel Chamblee, reveals he was blocked
Considering the characters involved, this one was surprisingly short. But it’s well worth getting into.
Chamblee made comments after the Players Championship, relaying that Poulter “did not play to win” down the stretch at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course.
So Poulter snapped back.
Oooh, this was going to be the start of a deep Twitter feud, right? Not exactly. That’s because Chamblee had already blocked Poulter, something the Englishman happily revealed.
So yeah this one ended abruptly, but there was no love lost here. It seemed maybe something was lost in translation, but this was definitely a spat worth remembering.
Billy Horschel calls out Brandel Chamblee over Tiger Woods swing comments
Yes, another Brandel brouhaha on this list. Say what you want about the man, he knows how to create a conversation in golf. And the studious analyst is not one to recant on his beliefs.
This one was a lengthy back-and-forth that eventually led to Horschel questioning Chamblee’s credentials on swing critique, claiming he’s “a ghost on the range.”
The full conversation is way more lengthy. You may get the gist from this, but you can read it in full here. Yet another doozy involving Chamblee.
Justin Thomas has wild accidental club throw, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler banter with him
OK, we promised a little light-heartedness in terms of spats/discussions on this list.
Here you go. Justin Thomas had maybe the best inadvertent club throw of the year with this wild accidental toss.
This was funny enough, but McIlroy chimed in with this excellent ribbing.
And Fowler joined in on the making fun of Justin Thomas action, too.
But the eventual PGA Tour Player of the Year was not going to take this sitting down. He came back at McIlroy with a reminder of the Northern Irishman’s own club-throwing expertise.
Well played, Justin. His response to Fowler … was a little less witty.
Overall, though, this was enjoyable friend banter. Well played by all.
Grayson Murray, Kelly Kraft ignite heated debate on OWGR bias
You didn’t think we’d have a Twitter spats list without Grayson Murray, did you?
While the Tour rookie mostly got in Twitter trouble for singular comments, he (and Kraft) caused a long debate to break out when they were mocking the Official World Golf Ranking as it pertained to points that go to events outside the PGA Tour.
Murray replied with “Let’s go play over there and then we will be in every major and WGC event the rest of our lives!” (The tweet appears to now be deleted, but you can view everything here.)
And that was enough to set things off. A series of players replied, many of them mocking that pair right back or coming at them for what they said.
Certainly one of the less likely Twitter spats of 2017, but actually one of the most fascinating: Research has previously found that the OWGR is skewed against PGA Tour events.
Still, this pair could’ve framed matters less dramatically. As they didn’t, this led to quite the interesting (and possibly educational) spat.
Aaron Rodgers, “Shooter McGavin” have hilarious back and forth
What was that about unlikely golf Twitter feuds?
Yeah, we definitely didn’t have star Packers QB facing off with the villain from “Happy Gilmore.” But … it happened.
OK, this one was certainly pretty cheeky (how could it not be when it involves a fictional movie villain Twitter account?). It all began when Rodgers noted he was taking a break from golf to focus on getting in shape for the NFL season.
“Shooter” noticed and couldn’t let that one slide.
Rather than ignore this, Rodgers (to his great credit) played along.
It went on a bit from there, ending with Rodgers doing a poll on who won their debate. You can catch all of the tweets here.
Sometimes the greatest brilliance springs in the unlikeliest of places.
Players, media battle over issue of backstopping
We’ll break the fourth wall here, as this list is not complete without getting into this one that involves media members.
Golfweek‘s own Geoff Shackelford has been calling out what he feels is an acceleration on the PGA Tour of the practice of backstopping – when a golfer leaves his ball around the hole rather than marking it while a playing opponent has a short-game shot that could hit that ball in an advantageous way, using it as a backstop for instance.
This would mean that players from time to time are now seeming to aid their opponents by intentionally leaving a ball unmarked in case said opponent wants to use it as a backstop.
(You probably understand why backstopping would be an issue then. But just in case … if a pair of players agree to not lift a ball in order to use it as a potential backstop, as in a way to assist a competitor, that’s a breach of Rule 22-1 and means disqualification.)
He wasn’t the only media member putting a light to a perceived uptick in this practice. And player response ensued.
Golf Channel’s Will Gray also pointed out the issue. That’s when Justin Thomas, perhaps having heard media and fans chiming on this issue for too long, went on the full player defense, claiming this practice is very infrequent and not deliberate by both parties (so no rule is being broken).
It’s an interesting debate (and you can click on any of the tweets above to catch the full threads that came about) and one where neutrality is almost nonexistent. Our own Golfweek writers actually penned a thoughtful point-counterpoint on the subject.
The argument over a possible backstopping trend has by no means been ended heading into 2018. Expect more to come of this in the ensuing year.
Jason Dufner, Brandel Chamblee engage in lengthy, personal feud on multiple levels
Start with Brandel, end with Brandel. This isn’t a true Twitter spats list otherwise.
Among Chamblee’s Twitter encounters this year with players, this one with Jason Dufner seemed the most personal.
This spat with Dufner actually started indirectly. A Twitter user was attacking Chuck Cook in a defense of Chamblee, and Dufner was not going to let somebody come after his swing coach:
An argument between Dufner and this guy ensued. It really didn’t become Dufner vs. Chamblee until the five-time PGA Tour winner relayed that he had been blocked.
Dufner then went off on the analyst, bringing forth the argument Horschel had about Chamblee not out there talking to players or coaches.
It only devolved further when Chamblee said he blocked Dufner due to profane language.
That REALLY set Dufner off. And he really went in on Chamblee.
Uh yeah, definitely a bit personal.
It wasn’t even over at that point. Here’s the conclusion:
So if you were wondering whether Dufner and Chamblee would be sending each other Christmas cards, we think we have your answer.
Again, think what you want about Chamblee, the discussion seems to flow when he talks. And he’s often not shy from backing up his points.
This was a nice capper to a year of interesting Twitter battles. We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!