US captain defuses ‘gimme’ controversy in PGA Cup

Captain Allen Wronowski of the United States. Picture: Getty Images
Captain Allen Wronowski of the United States. Picture: Getty Images
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HOURS after the Solheim Cup controversy in Germany, US captain Allen Wronowski stepped in to defuse a similar situation over a “gimme” in the PGA Cup at CordeValle in California.

Englishman David Dixon, a former European Tour winner, thought he’d been conceded a three-inch putt at the 11th in the last-day singles in the club pros’ equivalent of the Ryder Cup.

However, his opponent, Texas-based Australian Stuart Deane, said that hadn’t been the case after Dixon picked up his ball and claimed the hole to go back to two down.

When the incident was mentioned over the on-course radios, both Wronowski, the honorary president of the PGA of America, and Sandy Jones, the PGA chief executive, decided to intervene.

The match had reached the 13th hole by the time they talked to the two players and, on hearing what had happened, Wronowski immediately decided to concede the 14th hole without it being played.

“We always say that someone will walk away with the trophy but the ultimate winner always has to be golf,” said Wronowski, who was well aware of the incident that had sparked fury among the Americans at the Solheim Cup earlier in the day as Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull claimed the 17th hole after Alison Lee had picked her ball up believing that a 16-inch putt had been conceded by the Europeans.

Jones, who has refereed Ryder Cup matches in the past, praised Wronowski for the way he handled the situation in a match that GB&I won 13.5-12.5 to claim a first win in the event on US soil.

“I’m so pleased what Allen did - it took out any debate and stigma,” said the Scot. “Up to that moment it had been a fantastic match, and continued to be after it.

“It’s ironic that it happened today of all days and it puts the LPGA Tour in a different light from the PGA professionals.

“That would be a shame if it makes it worse for them because the difference in the two decisions is incredible.

Maybe it just demonstrates how the game should be played.”

Dixon, who went on to win 4&3, said the incident had “angered” him. He added: “I have never seen anything like that in 15 years of playing professional golf.

“It was a blatantly deliberate act of bad sportsmanship as the referee had already said the hole had been halved in 4s.

“Fair play to the US team captain for giving the hole back - that was really cool - but it was much to his (referring to Deane) disgust.”