Cheats never prosper…

20 09 2015

Well, maybe the word ‘cheat’ is a little strong but what I witnessed this morning at the Solheim Cup left me shaking my head in sadness and disbelief. For those of you who don’t follow golf too closely, the Solheim Cup is a bi-annual competition between the best professional women golfers from Europe and the United States. As in its male counterpart, the Ryder Cup, the Europeans have had somewhat the better of things recently after years of losing and were looking for their third consecutive win at this week’s competition in St Leon-Rot, southern Germany.

Generally speaking these events are played in a sporting spirit (Jack Nicklaus’s concession of a two foot putt to Tony Jacklin in the 1969 Ryder Cup, which allowed the home team to tie the match after decades of defeats, is often quoted as one of the most sporting gestures in the history of golf). There are exceptions – the so-called ‘War on the Shore’ at Kiawah Island in 1991, in which the American team wore camouflage shirts to match a very aggressive attitude, is one – but there’s usually a spirit of competitive camaraderie between the teams. Well, today’s matches were bubbling along quite nicely, with Europe enjoying a handy 9-6 lead, when this happened at the 17th hole in the match featuring veteran Suzann Pettersen and 19 year old Charley Hull for the Europeans and Brittany Lincicombe and teenage rookie Allison Lee for the USA:

Because the Europeans hadn’t actually conceded Lee’s short (two foot) putt they were technically within their rights to claim the hole when she picked up her ball, assuming the putt was a gimme. Hull and Lee, the two rookies, were both in tears at the end of the match, but Peterssen was adamant: neither she nor Hull had conceded the putt. Morally, however, it was very questionable. The American captain Julie Inkster said tersely “You just don’t do that to your peers. It’s disrespectful”, but I think European golfing legend Laura Davies put it best: “The Europeans have won the point, but the Americans have got the moral high ground. I think they (Suzann Pettersen and team captain Karen Koch) will regret it for the rest of their lives”.

Well, it turned out that they regretted it a bit sooner than that. Pettersen and Hull went on to win that match on the last hole, leaving the European team with a commanding 10-6 lead overall with just the 12 single matches to come. But then, guess what? Fired up by what they perceived as a huge injustice, the Americans came back to win the singles by a margin of 8.5 to 3.5 and regained the Cup by a single point, 14.5 to 13.5.

I never thought I would say this, but “Yay USA!!”

Suzann Pettersen has been a wonderful golfer over the years, but I believe her actions today will have tarnished her legacy forever. I much prefer to think back to 1969 and that other two foot putt – the one that WAS conceded. Nicklaus was quoted as saying to Jacklin as they walked off the 18th green: “I didn’t think you’d miss that one, Tony, but I wasn’t prepared to give you the chance.”

What a golfer, what a sportsman. What a legend!

All da best.

Dave B.

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6 responses

20 09 2015
GtheSBer

Thanks, Dave. Very interesting. I don’t think that is cheating so much as being a total %#@hole.

20 09 2015
Bagger Dave

I totally agree, Glennie. I just didn’t think I could put ‘%#@hole’ in the title.

20 09 2015
Martin

That’s so unusual as you said Dave. It would be shame if the sour taste in the mouths of the Americans was to last over the years. I guess the Euros will regret that for a very long time.
Cheers.

20 09 2015
Bagger Dave

Absolutely, Martin. Too bad they didn’t think twice, as Julie Inkster said, and put it right when they had the chance.

20 09 2015
Ken Doll

Dave. The only thing that even came remotely close to this was when I had a match with Mr. Doyle. On the last hole all tied up and my putt within the rubber to win the hole and the match. He made me putt it, and as I was putting he expelled the loudest fart that I have ever heard, I do not know if I flinched or the blast of hot air pushed the ball past the hole and he won the match and as he said – most importantly a cold mug of beer. Some people NEVER regret what they do

Ken Doll

20 09 2015
Bagger Dave

I’d like to say I’m shocked, Ken, but this is Len Doyle we’re talking about here…He’d fit right in with those dastardly Euros.

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