Charlotte discusses her conflicting thoughts on THAT viral video of Charley Hull smoking at the U.S. Women's Open

I know I’m late to the party on this one, but it took me a while to decide whether I should comment on the viral video of Charley Hull smoking. And the viral photo of Nelly Korda showing Hull a photo of her smoking.

But it was the following article title that got me to speak up: "Charley Hull entered the U.S. Women's Open a relative unknown among casual golf fans. By week's end, she had attained cult-hero status."

If you happen to have been living under a rock and somehow missed it, here’s the video:

I have two conflicting thoughts about the whole thing. The first one being: WHAT ON EARTH?!

When I first watched the video, I immediately assumed Hull would be being torn apart for smoking in front of her fans, a lot of them young fans at that.

And then I read the comments.

There were a few criticising the LPGA star. But the majority actually celebrated it.

Why are we glamorising smoking? Hull openly admitted in her press conference after her final round on Sunday that she doesn’t like the habit, adding that she started after quitting vapes.

"I hate smoking. I used to curse at my dad when I was younger for smoking, but I think it's to do a little bit when I'm stressed. I was a bit stressed last year and I just kind of vaped, and I wanted to stop vaping, and even though smoking is not better than vaping, it's just you can vape indoors all the time. I thought if I smoke, I'm going to go outside and smoke a cigarette. When it's a slow round on the golf course I smoke quite a few more than I should."

But at the end of the day, Hull is a role model and she is hugely influential. She has a massive following on social media, including children and teens, and I do think that comes with a serious level of responsibility.

My second thought was: You do you, Charley. She does so much for golf, and not just the women’s game. She doesn't care what people think of her, which we could all learn from.

My main gripe with the whole thing was that it distracted away from the US Women’s Open - one of the biggest showcases there is for women’s golf. In the end, even the USGA were embracing the moment:

In her Sunday interview, the Englishwoman said she thinks that one picture of her smoking got her more attention than the Solheim cup:

"I think I did, you know. I really think I did. It was pretty crazy. Just one cigarette, it lit up."

It also gained her more than 70,000 new followers and she’s even had marriage proposals off the back of it!

"At the minute I'm not actually on my Instagram. I put it on my agent's phone. I gave it to her like four weeks ago. The last few weeks I've just been letting her post, but she did tell me I gained like 72 or 70,000 followers in the space of like two days. I was like, wow. That's pretty crazy!"

On the surface, it’s hilarious. But when you dig a bit deeper, it speaks volumes about the state of women’s golf. It is still sexualised, it isn’t taken as seriously as the men’s game and these athletes are not respected in the way their male equivalents are. That's not at all on Charley by the way, that's on the rest of us.

I'm a Hull fan through and through but I can’t help but feel disappointed.