When I played golf for Scotland at international level, one of the first things about matchplay that I learned was to never expect or take for granted that a putt has been conceded. Always be absolutely sure of the concession before lifting your ball. If in doubt, ask your opponents.

I also learned that when conceding a putt, you should pick up the ball and hand it to your opponent. That way, you avoid any misunderstandings, and it is a very friendly way to play the game, even in highly competitive settings.

When you play matchplay with your buddies, just be sure that your putt has been conceded before you scoop up your ball, and when conceding a putt be very clear that it is conceded. This will help avoid any issues.

Obviously, at yesterday’s Solheim Cup, Alison Lee believed she heard that the putt had been conceded and what followed was unfortunate.

Share your thoughts about gimmes by replying below.


20 thoughts on “Gimmes

  1. If you play at any level of competition it is your place to know and apply the rules correctly. In the rules of golf no shot is ever conceded or given it is your responsibility to complete all shots.
    You should never assume a shot has been conceded, the picking up of the ball and handing it to your opponent when on the green saves any confusion and is the polite thing to do. It saves any misunderstanding or language barriers.
    It is a lesson you learn early, play it as it lies until the hole is completed never expect anything, it is your responsibility to complete all shots.

  2. I agree with the unsportsmanlike aspect of the incident.
    However the way Alison picked up the looked like she forgot that her partner was out of the hole.That is why her partner was trying to tell her not to pick up.A mistake that is made not too infrequently.

  3. 1. there was a meeting for all players and team members at the beginning of the solheim cup, and it was made clear that conceding putts needed to be clearly communicated.
    2. Alison Lee had been given 2 warnings already for picking up putts not given.
    3. Suzann P. and Charley Hull had not left the green, Charley Hull was on here way to consult with SP about the putt (she clarified this in the press conference). another camera shot shows SP waiting on the frindge of the green.
    4. Korda and Wie in the 2013 SOlheim cup are guilty of leaving the green while their opponents still had to putt out a gimme distance putt which had not been given.
    5. The american team has been very guilty of using gamesmanship and rules to their advantage in previous Solheim cups, so it seems a little hypocritical to complain about these things from Europeans. the precedent had already been set.
    6. Match play is of a different nature so i guess we can argue forever about bad taste and gamesmanship!

  4. petterson may have won the hole but i wonder if she thought about how she will be received in the states if she has the guts to return. i do not think it will be nice but i am still hoping the fans show her more courtesy and respect than she showed. she showed a total lack of class as both a professional golfer and human being.

  5. Thank you for sharing your perspective, Valerie! I don’t think there was any intent to deceive on Pettersen’s/Hull’s part, and I don’t think Pettersen had any choice but to point out that the putt hadn’t been given. Why should an 18-inch putt be given, especially in a team match on the 17th green with a rookie putting? Did you routinely give such putts, Valerie?

    • What a good question, Jeff. When I played competitively with a partner, generally we assigned a “captain”, so one of us would be responsible for conceding putts and would make that call. In my mind when you concede putts much depends on the person who is putting (have they already missed some short putts/ do they appear confident while standing waiting for their turn to putt), the circumstances of the match, the concessions that you have been given and the general spirit of the match. I can’t comment on that specific match because I didn’t see it in its entirety to make a valid judgement. However if we take a hypothetical question of an 18-inch putt in a team match on the 17th green with a rookie putting, I would have my opponent putt it out. Lots can happen in matchplay, with even the most straightforward shots, especially under pressure.

  6. Both sides contributed to this unfortunate incident . If Petersen and partner did not concede the putt they should have politely stayed watching the putt holed, and of course the opposition should not have picked up if a concession was not clearly made.

  7. I agree with you Valerie but I doubt very much that you went charging off if you expected your opponent to putt the next one. Wouldn’t you wait & watch?

    • Absolutely, Mark. You should always watch your opponents shots and be respectful. That’s why, even though it seems very old fashioned nowadays, the idea of picking up your opponents ball and handing it to them when conceding a putt makes so much sense. When I first moved to America and played matchplay here, people would say “that’s good”. I didnt know if they meant the putt was just a good putt, and they were praising me for a good effort, or if it was in fact a gimme, and as a result I had to check with them. That’s why you really have to be clear so there are no misunderstandings or unfortunate situations.

  8. Awfully tough to pick the ball up and hand it to your opponent when walking away from it. Even the referee thought the putt had been conceded and announced the hole as halved. Seems to me Petterson and Hull were hoping to entice Alison Lee into making the mistake and it worked. Pure gamesmanship and a blatant display of unsportsmanlike like behavior. So sad to see that on the professional level.

  9. Rookie mistake but perhaps bigger mistake by Pettersen . Interesting to see US reception. Lucky LPGA attracts more lay back crowd. Could you imagine PGA reception at Bethpage Black. And where was her partner and captain?

  10. While Allision was clearly wrong. Suzanne’s gamesmanship was in very bad taste.

    All of the flag waving and excessive fan cheering at both the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup have taken away the gentlemen/women’s nature of the sport. Golf is descending into the hooliganism of futball and the borishness of football.

    The uncivilized nature of the fans at the Boston PGA event two weeks ago is more evidence that golf has given up its place at the headof the table in sports.

  11. Sadly, Allison has to learn what you were taught–don’t touch your ball unless you’re absolutely sure of a concession. The behavior of Petterson and the Europeans was gamesmanship at its worst, but the decision was still the correct one. Maybe picking up one’s opponent’s ball and making the concession clear should be a “condition of play” in international competition.

  12. There will always be people that use or abuse rules for their benefit. That’s life, not only golf.They are usually not your favorite people.

  13. Although she was within the rules to do what she did, it was gamesmanship by Petterson. Nonetheless, the US player, as Valerie stated, should have confirmed beyond a doubt that the putt was conceded. A great lesson to be learned by players at all levels in a match play setting.

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