Monday, March 1 2021


Gimmie that putt

Update: August, 06/2017 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

By Robert Bicknell

Maybe there is something in the US water system, but for some reason, there seems to be a lot more drama in just about everything lately. Politics side (because there is already too much drama in US politics and mentioning it is like shooting fish in a barrel. There’s just no thrill in it), even people just going to the store involves drama. Yes, even if we don’t look at Walmart there is drama.

So why should Junior Golf be spared some drama?

In this case, Elizabeth Moon had a three-foot birdie putt to move into the final of the US Girls’ Junior. She missed on the low side, leaving a 6-8 inch tap in. Thinking it would be conceded Moon pulled it back to try again, this time making it.

Her opponent, Erica Shepherd, then said, "I didn’t say that was good."

After conferring with rules officials, Moon was given a one-shot penalty for moving her ball (under Rule 18-2) since it hadn’t been conceded and you can’t concede a putt after the fact.

But you have to feel sorry for the kid.

There was a similar controversy at the 2015 Solheim Cup when Allison Lee scooped up a short putt she believed had been given to her. But Suzann Pettersen stood her ground that it hadn’t, causing an emotional scene and a tough loss for the Americans, although they rallied in the singles portion to win the event.

A gimme isn’t technically a gimme unless it’s actually given to you, but another question is “when should gimmies be given?”

If you played with some of the sharks I grew up with, they wouldn’t concede a putt that was hanging on the lip of the hole. Their attitude was always – finish it. This is one reason why even after a putt is given to me, I still rap it in. Force of habit.

And besides, I like the sound of the ball rattling around in there. It reassures me that there is no magic field around the hole which has been fighting me all day.

Other players will give putts that are “inside the leather”, which simply means the ball is as close to the hole as the distance from the bottom of the putter grip to the putter’s clubhead.

Of course, not all putters are equal, especially with the broomstick and belly putters, so the term is pretty arbitrary. If you’re playing with your friends, you know within reason how far from the hole is gimmie territory.

Then again, if you’re playing for fun and small bets, giving gimmies is not really an issue.

If you’re playing match play (hole by hole), you should never force someone to putt out if they are already out of the hole. That’s just being a jerk.

But there are times in match play when you might not want to concede a putt, just to screw with the other guy’s head. Yes, match play is wonderful because you can really get inside your opponent’s head and mess around.

For example, you can concede a few putts on the front nine which might have been questionable gimmies. This interferes with the other player reinforcing his confidence on short putts. But then you ask him to putt –out on what should be a no-brainer and you’ve got him thinking “What does he see that I don’t?” And you get him worried their might be more break than he originally thought.

Many guys will concede a lot of putts on the front nine, but become very stingy on the back nine. This, as mentioned, screws with the other guy’s head, but also, it tends to wind the guy up a bit.

If he’s irritated, he might make a poor stroke and blow the putt. And if he does indeed blow it, you can take satisfaction in watching him talk to himself all the way to the next tee, knowing there is a good chance he’ll overswing out of anger or frustration and slice the ball straight into the trees.

All these above scenarios part of the game. You really cannot get angry with the other guy.

But what happened at the US Girls’ Junior and the 2015 Solheim Cup was a good example of how to win, and lose, at the same time.VNS



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