Wednesday, March 3, 2010
A Moral Match Play Question for the Masses
This week, I was out on the golf course with a few of the regular guys I golf with. Everyone can play, everyone has ability and everyone can fire a round under par. It's a fun little match that sometimes gets heated, and usually ends with a $10 or $20 being passed between guys.
This match had a moment that was different, and seeing as though I write golf, I figured what better way to figure out the correct resolution than to ask around and see.
We play a Round Robin team game where everyone is a teammate for six holes.
My friend Wes and I were teammates for the first six holes, and after Wes made a 18-footer for birdie on 4 and I made a snake from about 40 feet on 5 for birdie, we were 2-up with one to play. The game allows presses, and the way our competitor rolls, a press is always anticipated.
After the press was called, the two guys hit poor tee shots and were in trouble. One guy ended up in his pocket, the other about 35-feet short of the hole for birdie. Wes, who hit driver up the left side of the short par-4, pitched cooly on to about 10-feet behind the hole, and with our playing partner missing his birdie putt, had a chance to win the press, making it a $20 sweep for the first six hole match.
Here is where the incident occurred. Wes missed the putt, and as it was rolling over the lip, he snapped it away with his putter. The putt wasn't traveling fast at all, and may have rolled a foot and change away from the hole, but Wes wasn't thinking and was pissed he missed the birdie attempt. All three of us had an interesting look on our face. I was rattled enough to miss a 4-footer to save par. The other guy made par, and we went to the next hole with Wes apologizing over and over for his actions.
Now, the putt probably would have been conceded. Like I said, it was barely moving, but nobody really knew the next step. As Wes continually said he'd take a five, and the playing partners saying, "No, no," it seemed that we would tie the press and win the bet, banking $10. When the 18 holes ended, however, the partners asked what we were going to do about that hole.
What do you do? Take the five since you basically picked up without being told the putt was good? Or do you give the guy a four and tell him that it better not happen again?
Any thought is appreciated.