This alleged breach of etiquette caused a stir. But was it really a breach?
It was sunny and warm this past week in Hilton Head, S.C., perfect weather for the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, a women’s college tournament at Long Cove Club.
But you know how it is in the Twittersphere: conditions are always stormy.
That’s another way of saying that a mini-squall erupted on social media over an incident at the event.
It happened on Monday, when LSU’s Carla Tejedo Mulet struck a long-range birdie putt on the 18th hole. As the ball was trundling toward its target, one of Tejedo Mulet’s playing partners stepped in, crossing between Tejedo Mulet’s ball and the cup. You can watch the video here.
Technically, the player wasn’t walking in Tejedo Mulet’s line; the ball had already rolled past. It seemed that she was simply trying to take a shortcut to her own putt, and under the rules of golf, there was nothing illegal in what she did.
But had she violated golf’s unwritten codes of conduct?
Twitter being Twitter, the responses were prompt and polarized.
@AmandaGolf59 led a chorus of voices saying that Tejedo Mulet’s playing partner should have walked behind her, not in front of her.
“I don’t care that the putt was already hit. There is no reason to walk in front of someone who is still trying to read a putt.”
In the eyes of the irked, it was an oblivious move that carried real-world implications. Yes, they noted, the putt wound up dropping. But what if it hadn’t? Tejedo Mulet might have liked to have a clear look at its break without another player in her path.
That was one way to look at it.
To other commenters, though, there was nothing to see.
“So she has to walk all the way around her?” @Lewthunder wrote. “Nope this is a non issue.”
So, which side of the argument was right?
In a rarity for Twitter, both.
As a practical matter, the incident was indeed a nothing burger. Not only was the roll of the putt unaffected, Tejedo Mulet’s view was also blocked for no more than a nano-second, if it was impeded at all. Had the putt missed, she would have had no trouble following its roll. Observers might also be inclined to respect Tejedo Mulet’s opponent’s commitment to getting an accurate read. Sensible tactic, one might argue.
But when it comes to etiquette, optics also matter. And in that regard, the other player crossed a line when she stepped in front of Tejedo Mulet:
However unintentionally, her actions appeared disrespectful, which is not how any player should want to look.
A major violation? Not even close. But a violation nonetheless.
“On a 1-10 scale, I’d rate this etiquette breach about a 3.” @Robopz posted.
That’s how the Etiquetteist would rate it, too.