Honesty and fair play are cornerstones of golf, so the row that erupted during the Solheim Cup between Europe and the United States on Sunday jarred horribly with everything this great game should be about.
I was extremely disappointed with Europe’s behaviour after it emerged that American Alison Lee had picked up her ball in the mistaken belief that a short putt at the 17th had been conceded.
It was a scenario that I have never seen come up before and probably never will again. In that sense it may have caught people off guard, but Europe made some wrong choices in the heat of the moment.
Suzann Pettersen has apologised for passing up the opportunity to concede after it became clear Lee had made a mistake in the fourballs, while I think European captain Carin Koch could have intervened.
Since that put Europe one up with one to play, I’d have said ‘play the 18th’ and then, had the Americans halved the hole, I’d have give it to them, ensuring the match was drawn – and justice done.
As it was, I felt very sorry for Charley Hull, the English 19-year-old who did nothing wrong but, as Pettersen’s junior playing partner, caught in the midst of the acrimony.
The flashpoint brought back memories of the 2000 Solheim Cup, when the United States were the ones accused of lacking sportsmanship after an incident involving Europe’s Annika Sorenstam.
She chipped in at the 13th, only for the US to ask that she replay it because they had been further from the tee – which they must have known before her shot. America won the match but Europe lifted the trophy.
That was a very smelly one, and so was this weekend’s, which you knew would only fire up the visitors to mount a comeback in the decisive afternoon singles matches in Germany.
Sure enough, USA played magnificently and reclaimed the title. In many ways I think that outcome saved Europe, as it would have been a very hollow win indeed if they had held on.
Across the pond, meanwhile, the man from Down Under was busy putting himself on top of the world as Jason Day shot to No1 in the rankings with yet another high-profile win, this time at the BMW Championship.
While Jordan Spieth’s explosion this year got some predicting a decade of he and Rory McIlroy monopolising every title, anyone with an eye in their head could see that Day was a big result away from the top level.
The Australian always had that within him, and the breakthrough finally came at the US PGA Championship last month, when he won his first Major.
He hasn’t looked back, winning two FedEx Cup Play-Off events since, and prompting debate about whether he ought to rival Spieth when the player of the year awards are handed out.
Day is obviously the man of the moment and a deserving contender but even if he wins this week’s FedEx Cup finale, the Tour Championship, I’d still make Spieth, with two Major wins and two near misses, my star of 2015.
Praise is also due to Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, who added his name to roll call of European Tour winners when he beat Martin Kaymer in a play-off to land a maiden triumph in Italy.
It was disappointing for Kaymer, who had three bad bogeys on the back nine as he blew a healthy lead for the second time this season – signs, perhaps, that all is not well with the German’s game.
But it was Karlberg’s day, and it was also pleasing to see the Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick, England’s new guard, continue their improvement by finishing just one shot behind.