I’d Have Pulled A Pettersen Too!
This column is going to be short and sweet because that’s all the situation warrants.
The over-inflated “controversy” coming out of Sunday play at The Solheim Cup this weekend was a bunch of loaded, entitled, media frenzied malarkey.
If I were a member of the fairer sex, and as talented as the phenomenal athletes playing for their respective countries this past weekend, I would have pulled a Pettersen too.
If you missed it, on the 17th hole of Sunday morning’s fourball matches, Alison Lee of the U.S. missed an 8-foot putt to win the hole, knocking it 16-inches past. She then proceeded to pick up the ball thinking it was conceded. The problem is that the European duo of Pettersen and Hull didn’t concede the putt. What ensued was a 1-up lead for the Europeans and a bunch of excuses essentially outlining why Pettersen and Hull were wrong despite completely following the rules. Worst of all, many claimed this action was “unsportsmanlike.”
Now I don’t play competitive golf. But when I compete in my pointless, friendly matches, I don’t give putts. I especially don’t give putts to people who think it’s “good sportsmanship” and in “the spirit of the game.” In fact, I take offence to those statements and think even Old Tom Morris would roll in his grave if he knew sportsmanship and the spirit of the game meant breaking the rules or giving your opponents putts in competition.
Sure, if I’m playing with you in a leisurely Sunday match, I’d give you your 20-foot putt without blinking an eye Juli Inkster and Laura Davies. But in competition? Let’s get serious.
Truth be told, if the scenario was thrown headfirst into Busta Rhymes flip mode, I have no doubt the U.S. squad would have done precisely the same thing as Pettersen and Hull and the U.S. would be perfectly content in their decision.
See I play by the rules and I expect to make every putt because that’s what golf is about. And whether the earth moves around me, someone scratches their derrière, or I think my mistake deserves correcting by my opponent giving up their right to the rules as a competitor, a putt isn’t good until your opponents emphatically and clearly say it is or I put it in the hole.
And this is the true reason why the spirit of golf and sportsmanship took a blow this weekend. It wasn’t because Suzann Pettersen didn’t concede a putt or because she subsequently went on to both defend and apologize for her actions, but because Juli Inkster was upset about it, the U.S. team didn’t think Alison Lee did anything wrong, and because sympathy, bias and the frustration of losing so badly at that point in the matches made so many people think Suzann Pettersen was wrong, so much so that she felt she needed to apologize.
So much for the rules. So much for sportsmanship. So much over so little.