In 2006 renowned institutional economist Geoffrey Hodgson published a paper in the Journal of Economic Issues called What Are Institutions? Whilst an exact and acceptable definition of what comprises an ‘institution’ remains elusive, most writers acknowledge institutions are a set of formal and informal rules, norms and habits with the objective of providing an incentive structure which human activity relies upon. The following definitions are provided:
A rule is defined as “a socially transmitted and customary normative injunction or immanently normative disposition, that in circumstances X do Y”. (Hodgson, 2006:3)
A norm “involves approval or disapproval” whereas rules do not. (Hodgson, 2006:5)
A habit is “a disposition to engage in previously adopted behaviour or thoughts, triggered by an appropriate stimulus or context” and require “repeated behaviour” in order to be established. (Hodgson, 2006:6)
The picture of the right is the moment just after the putt stops beyond the hole. The ball is just visible below.
One of the first rules of golf is that the hole is only complete when the ball enters (and stays) in the cup. Therefore, Lee was required to putt out the hole in order to complete it. However, it's not that simple. Golf relies heavily on etiquette and a sense of what is appropriate and not appropriate on the golf course. Here norms can come into play. Opposition players can instruct the putter to pick the ball up if they believe the putt won't be missed (known as a gimme).
Another interesting side-story is the body language of European Peterson (blue jumper above) who strides off the green once the putt is struck, with only one glance behind, after Lee has picked up her ball. Those familiar with golf would probably agree this is the behaviour of a player that has deemed the hole to be completed. This may be a habit of Peterson that has developed over years of playing the game. Lee may also habitually pick up putts inside two feet and assume they are gimmes. One would have to know the players better to confirm this.
The end result of course is that the putt had not been conceded and Lee's decision to pick up her ball resulted in Europe winning the hole, and eventually the four-ball. Neither Peterson broke any rules. However, former World Number One Laura Davis hit the nail on the head when she said "Suzann was within the rules but it's just not in the spirit of the game and in the spirit of the Solheim Cup".
Pettersen has since apologised and said: "I've never felt more gutted and truly sad about what went down on Sunday. I am so sorry for not thinking about the bigger picture in the heat of the battle and competition.I was trying my hardest for my team and put the single match and the point that could be earned ahead of sportsmanship and the game of golf itself! I feel like I let my team down and I am sorry."