When the etiquette of golf is violated

Alison Lee of team USA cries shortly afterwards she was told that her short putt on the 17th hole had not been conceeded and thus loosing the hole to Europe during the continuation of the darkness delayed afternoon fourball matches at The Solheim Cup at St Leon-Rot Golf Club on September 20, 2015 in St Leon-Rot, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

This is the moment that has the golf world in an uproar.

American rookie Alison Lee missed the putt during a fourball match in the Solheim Cup over the weekend.

Sportsmanship generally dictates that her opponents concede that she’d make the subsequent “gimmee” putt.

But Suzann Pettersen, of the European team, insisted that her squad would not concede the putt and, since Lee had already picked up the ball, demanded she be penalized. She was and the Europeans won the hole, although the U.S. went on to win the cup.

The golf etiquette crowd was incensed.

Said The Guardian’s Ewan Murray

Golf’s occasional stuffiness is an easy target but there remains an inherent decency and integrity over what should and shouldn’t happen within the parameters of competition. That unspoken standard sets golf apart as such a valuable pastime. It is also why Pettersen’s stance caused such a furore. Laura Davies, steeped in golf and the Solheim Cup, was among those absolutely scathing in their criticism.

The cold, borderline offensive lack of self-awareness shown by Pettersen and her colleagues after the dust had settled in Germany reflected dreadfully on the European Solheim contingent.

“The rulebook was followed on the 17th green but the spirit of what happened was disappointing,” the BBC’s Iain Carter said.

Pettersen initially refused to apologize, saying she’d do it again, but this morning she apologized via Instagram.

I’ve never felt more gutted and truly sad about what went down Sunday on the 17th at the Solheim Cup.

I am so sorry for not thinking about the bigger picture in the heat of the battle and competition. I was trying my hardest for my team and put the single match and the point that could be earned ahead of sportsmanship and the game of golf itself! I feel like I let my team down and I am sorry.

To the U.S. team, you guys have a great leader in Juli , who I’ve always looked up to and respect so much. Knowing I need to make things “right,” I had a face to face chat with her before leaving Germany this morning to tell her in person how I really feel about all of this. I wanted her also to know that I am sorry.

I hope in time the U.S. team will forgive me and know that I have learned a valuable lesson about what is truly important in this great game of golf which has given me so much in my life.
To the fans of golf who watched the competition on TV, I am sorry for the way I carried myself. I can be so much better and being an ambassador for this great game means a lot to me.

The Solheim Cup has been a huge part of my career. I wish I could change Sunday for many reasons. Unfortunately I can’t.

This week I want to push forward toward another opportunity to earn the Solheim Cup back for Europe in the right way. And I want to work hard to earn back your belief in me as someone who plays hard, plays fair and plays the great game of golf the right way.