Lee Westwood launches sweary attack on his Twitter 'trolls'
British golfer Lee Westwood has fired off a series of angry messages on Twitter to hit back at his so-called trolls.
The former world number one said he was targeting "the haters" and "girly boy trolls" after becoming tired of incessant abusive messages.
Westwood's actions come amid a debate on how high-profile figures on Twitter should deal with attacks on the social networking site.
There is raising concern, too, over the impact of hateful messages on vulnerable people on other popular sites, following the suicide death of schoolgirl Hannah Smith.
The usually genial golfer called out his critics in a stream of sweary messages so out-of-character some among his 570,000 followers questioned whether his account had been hacked.
Westwood, who finished a disappointing 33rd at the weekend's PGA Championship, began his two-hour Twitter rampage despite followers telling him it was futile to respond to his abusers.
The 40-year-old said he was "just sick of negative a**holes sat behind a keyboard with a pitiful life" and urged the trolls to attack him so he could return fire, which apparently drew little response.
Westwood continued, defending his record in 2013 after being needled for his ongoing failure to land golf's highest honour at one of the Majors.
Eventually, after around two hours of venting his feelings, the golfer called it a day and confirmed his outspoken attack on the "trolls" was his own work.