Jay Townsend: Who is he?
THE man at the centre of yesterday's Twitter war with Rory McIlroy is American Jay Townsend (49), once a journeyman professional on the European Tour but now best known for his sharp punditry with The Golf Channel and BBC Radio 5 Live.
Townsend never won in eight seasons on the European Tour from 1991 to '98. His best finish was second place, three shots behind winner Sam Torrance, at the '94 Catalan Open in Spain. In all, he registered just 13 top-10 finishes on Tour.
In his capacity as The Golf Channel's European Tour analyst, Townsend is commentating on this week's Irish Open in Killarney. He was critical of the course management employed by McIlroy and his caddie JP Fitzgerald during yesterday morning's broadcast to the US, and his words were relayed live on RTE 1.
Yet McIlroy first read his observations on Twitter, which drew a hot-blooded response from the 22-year-old Ulsterman, who says Townsend has been critical of Fitzgerald since the summer of 2008, adding: "Today was the straw which broke the camel's back."
Jay Townsend Tweets: McIlroy's course management was shocking.
Jay Townsend Tweets: @wenners just made a great point, @mcilroyrory should hire Stevie Williams, as I thought JP allowed some SHOCKING course management today.
Jay Townsend Tweets to @HunterandIan: Some of the worst course management I have ever seen beyond under 10's boys golf competition
Rory Mcilroy Tweets: @JayATownsend shut up ... You're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!
Jay Townsend Tweets to @McIlroyRory: Sorry, but I stand by my comments
Rory Mcilroy Tweets to @JayATownsend: Well, I stand by my caddie.
Jay Townsend Tweets: As you should, I respect that.