Yes, it was an unfortunate incident at the U.S. Junior Girls Golf Championship. Elizabeth Moon missed a short putt that would have won the match and proceeded to rake the ball back before her opponent Erica Shepherd had a chance to concede the tap-in. Not legal. Loss of hole and the match. Tough luck, but you don’t just assume a putt is going to be given. In all the years I have been playing, when in match play I missed a putt, even if by half an inch, I always looked to my opponent to hear him say good before I proceeded on. That is the rule. You never assume anything.
A lot of people are criticizing Shepherd. She did nothing wrong. In a situation like that, sometimes you are so shocked by the outcome that you are temporarily stunned and don’t react as quickly. I’m sure Shepherd thought Moon would make the short putt and was probably accepting her fate when “Bang, wow, I can’t believe it.” Critics think she should have immediately said good and moved on. But it is not always that simple. I was in a similar situation once and lipped out a putt to win a match. My opponent was surprised I missed and just kind of looked at me in shock. I addressed the ball to finish the hole when he said good.
See, you must be aware of the situation and not allow a sudden mishap to affect your thinking. Moon made the mistake. No one should put it on Shepherd.
By Mike Stevens, USGTF Member, Tampa, FL