Minding One's Manners

Having witnessed the ill-tempered events at August’s Solheim Cup at first hand, Lewine Mair takes a look at the declining standards of etiquette in the professional and amateur codes

Tiger Woods shows his frustration during the final round of last year's CIMB Classic

You can rest assured that Fred Couples and Nick Price will have been warning their players to mind their on-course manners ahead of this month’s Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village. Andy McFee, a senior referee on European Tour, thought that team captains everywhere would be hot on that particular topic following events in the recent Solheim Cup at the Colorado Golf Club.

Not too many would have thought that the female of the golfing species would be in trouble for their conduct. Yet that Colorado week resulted in one top US official being moved to proclaim, "I used to think that the women’s etiquette was better than the men’s, but not anymore."

In truth, there was a mildly hostile feel to the match from the moment that Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson felt that their opponents, Carlotta Ciganda and Suzann Pettersen, had been given a wrong ruling. And one which had worked ridiculously in their favour by the time it had been sorted out.

To recap, after Ciganda had hit into a lateral water hazard to the right of the 15th, the referee spent the next 20 minutes wondering where the Spaniard should take her drop. As he pondered, so he looking more and more like a shocked Jean Van de Velde standing in the waters of the Barry Burn at the 1999 Open Championship.

Since the boundary of the hazard was distinctly squiggly and the poor fellow simply could not ascertain where the ball had crossed the water, he eventually called for a second opinion. Sad to say that when it came, it was wrong.

The moment Ciganda had holed a long putt to walk from the green with an improbable half, Lewis and Dottie Pepper, one of the US captain’s assistants, had rounded on the original referee in the full glare of the TV cameras.

"It would be better if this was happening in private," suggested a somewhat uncomfortable commentator. "Not for us it wouldn’t," roared his colleague, who clearly felt that this on-screen aggravation made for great television.


Click here to see the published article.