Surprising ‘good-good’ concession at Walker Cup comes at crucial moment

US star Gordon Sargent and GB&I’s John Gough walked “well, well” on Sunday.

NBC Golf

More than 53 years after Jack Nicklaus’ famous 1969 Ryder Cup concession to Tony Jacklin, the golfing world must debate another concession in Sunday singles.

This repeat once again involved the best players from both teams, but this time it was at the Walker Cup.

Here’s a brief synopsis of what happened.

Gordon Sargent, a junior at Vanderbilt University and the world’s top amateur golfer, went head-to-head with John Gough of the Great Britain and Ireland team on Sunday. The US team started the final day three points adrift but closed the gap to just one point after winning the morning foursome 3-1.

Gough had a slim lead in the front nine and even sunk his second shot to the eagle on the par 6 par 4 of the Old Course at St Andrews, but Sargent fought back to take a 1-1 lead over the back nine.

However, by the time the pair reached the 16th green, the game was a tie.

With Sargent about a yard off par, Gough aggressively missed his birdie putt from middle range, but missed it deep and watched it roll just outside of Sargent’s mark. That’s when it started to get interesting.

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From the TV camera’s point of view, it looked like Gough was still gone, but Sargent walked behind him anyway, presumably to gauge whether or not he was gone.

Gough had marked his ball and was stepping back to read his par putt when Sargent looked at him and pointed to their two putts. The NBC/Sky Sports mics didn’t catch who was saying what, but both players immediately picked up their notes and made their way to the 17th tee in an apparent “good, good” agreement.

The broadcast crew was shocked.

“That surprises me,” said a spokesman. “If you need the points, just say no and assume a ‘good, good’ situation?”

Analyst Brad Faxon said later on the show that fellow NBC player and former Ryder Cup caddy John Wood texted him his reaction to the players’ concession.

“These kids don’t know how to play match play,” Wood said in his text.

After the game, Sargent explained the situation on the show.

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“We just had a friendly,” Sargent said. “And there was no point — we felt like we were both going to make it, so we just wanted to make it to 17 and hopefully put on a show for the fans.”

“He was a little closer than me,” Gough later said. “We both had nasty left-right players and we said, ‘On to the next tee’ and he agreed, so we went.”

This decision did not go well for Gough. The 24-year-old Englishman blocked his shot at the famous “road hole” into the Old Course Hotel and went wide. Sargent did a slight bogey before the green and then ran a 3-Wood for an easy birdie on the 18th to secure a 1-up win.

The result in that game, the second of the afternoon session, proved to be momentum killers for the GB&I team who started the session a point clear and controlled several other games on the pitch.

Team USA eventually won six of the ten games played in the last session, defending the Walker Cup with a 14.5-11.5 win.


Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an editorial assistant at GOLF. A native of Pennsylvania, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program as head coach. Jack is also still *trying* to stay competitive with the local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack worked for two years at a television station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a multimedia journalist/reporter, but also as a producer, host and even host of the weather report. He can be reached at Surprising ‘good-good’ concession at Walker Cup comes at crucial moment

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