Suzann Pettersen has been Norway’s star golfer for nearly two decades, but experts claim she now may be irreversibly tarnished. The respect she’s commanded suddenly dissolved into hatred after she controversially contested a putt during the weekend’s Solheim Cup tournament between professional women golfers from Europe and the US. At first she defended herself, but later apologized.By gentlemen's agreement, a putt that is shorter than the standard length of a putter grip is conceded to be 'in'. When the two European golfers walked off the green toward the next tee, the American golfer assumed her one-footer had been so conceded. Only then did the gamesmanship begin.
Pettersen’s crime was her stated objection when [American Alison] Lee, who was making her debut in Solheim Cup competition, apparently assumed she’d be given a putt when her ball landed somewhere between 25 and 40 centimeters [10-16 inches] from the 17th hole. She picked up the ball without actually putting it into the hole and without getting a nod from her opponent Pettersen.And to have cheated her way to at least a half point her team didn't deserve. Europe, however (possibly energizing the Americans) ultimately lost to their adversaries 14-1/2 to 13-1/2, after leading 10-6 entering the final round of matches.
That prompted Pettersen to alert officials to how Lee had broken the rules, but Pettersen herself had broken an unwritten rule of golf. Most all golfers would have given Lee the nod and allowed her to pocket par. Pettersen’s decision not to go along was widely viewed as showing Pettersen to be a bad sport.
Pettersen, age 34, admitted herself that her hard line with Lee, who started to cry, froze relations between the European and American teams, with the latter going on to play strongly and win. “They hated us,” she told Eurosport, but initially claimed she couldn’t understand why since “they were the ones” to make a mistake, “not us.”Should do wonders for Suzie's endorsement income.
Norwegian golf expert and Viasat commentator Per Haugsrud firmly disagreed. He sided with scores of others, also most of the press corps covering the tournament, that Pettersen should have given the putt and its important result to Lee. “It’s very important to be a ‘gentleman’ in our sport, and what she (Pettersen) did was on the verge of being unheard of,” he told NRK.