Some of you, dear readers, may never have been on Twitter. In fact, you’re possibly sitting there right now reading this and muttering “what the hell is Twitter?” while curiously typing the letters T, W, I, T etc, etc into an internet search engine with the kind of wary, hesitant fingering you’d adopt when you can’t remember your four-digit pin at the cash machine and are worried your card will be swallowed. Either that or you’re now asking “what the hell is an internet search engine?”

Anyway, Twitter, in a nutshell, is an online frenzy; a breathless tsunami of opinions that tells you what to think even before you’ve had time to think about what it is you’re supposed to be thinking about. And by the time you’ve thought about what you were originally implored to think about, everybody has moved on to thinking about something else.

In modern parlance, such a relentless tempest of thought processes on all manner of topics, debates, issues and trivialities is known as a Twitter Storm and we had, oh, the 1356th one of the week at the Farmers Insurance Open as the embedded ball saga engulfed Patrick Reed. Well, everybody seemed to be engulfed by it apart from Reed. He went on to win by five shots.

To briefly recap the third round events, Reed’s second shot on the 10th found the rough. Believing the ball was embedded he picked it up somewhat haphazardly before calling an official. The official deemed it had been embedded, allowing Reed a favourable drop, but TV replays later showed the ball bounced once before settling into the rough. There was subsequently a fist-shaking clamour that Reed, not for the first time in a chequered career, had cheated amid a furore of retrospective analysis.

There would be an intriguing twist in the tale, however, as Rory McIlroy took a similar drop from a seemingly embedded lie but without consulting an official – as the rules allow – although footage showed his ball bouncing before coming to a rest. On this occasion, though, there was no maelstrom of accusing fingers pointing at McIlroy. The untainted Prince Charming versus the tarnished pantomime villain?

The PGA Tour, meanwhile, went to great lengths to confirm that both players had acted correctly, stating, “it was reasonable for both players to conclude - based on the fact that they did not see the ball land, but given the lie of the ball in soft course conditions - that they proceed as the rule allows for a potential embedded ball.” Nothing to see here then.

Of course, Reed’s back story, one of well-documented conflicts with golf’s sacred dos and don’ts and accusations of previous wrongdoings, continues to cling to him like the stubborn reek you get from your jumper if you cook a mariner’s pie without the extractor fan on.

The updating of the rulebook in 2019, which led to more emphasis on “reasonable judgement” by a player, has in some ways muddied the waters and given scope for different interpretations and ambiguity.

There is, of course, the black and white of the rules and the spirit of them. When someone like Reed exercises what he thinks is his “reasonable judgement” others will deliver damning judgement, even when he is exonerated of any wrong-doing by officials. Reputations matter and Reed’s reputation precedes him. Heightened scrutiny, suspicion and scorn continues to be par for the course.

“Obviously the talk amongst the boys isn’t great, but he’s protected by the (PGA) Tour and that’s all that matters, I guess ” said his fellow tour player, Xander Schaufelle, in a quiet, yet biting assessment of affairs.

The remarkable thing is that Reed continues to thrive amid the tumult and is seemingly able to swat aside all the uproar and racket with the nonchalance of Larry Grayson flicking out a limp paw and cackling “shut that door.”

There is, in many quarters, a grudging admiration for Reed’s combative, resilient spirit, brave competitive commitment and fist-pumping defiance. Yet, for countless others, he is a sullied major champion who is impossible to embrace.

That is understandable. When he was captured on video essentially swiping sand away from behind his ball with a practise swing to improve his lie during an event last year, he responded to crowd heckling the following week by mimicking a shovelling motion as he walked off the green.

It was a fairly crass action amid a contentious episode that should have led to humility and contrition but instead prompted petty posturing and unedifying, self-centred victimhood.

Last week, the R&A announced a partnership with the management company headed by golf-loving pop star, Niall Horan, aimed at bringing more youngsters into the game. If some of those youngsters had a casual look at Twitter over the weekend, tried to get their heads round the more impenetrable detail of the rules rumpus and glanced through the general, mouth-frothing harrumphing and bawling castigations, you’d probably forgive them for thinking “sod golf, I’ll stick to the Playstation.”

Oh well, apparently there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Which is a good job, because Reed, and some of the other world stars, are playing in Saudi Arabia this week. Get ready for another golf Twitter Storm …