Michael Campbell in matchplay against Paul McGinley
In this system of scoring, each hole is played as a mini match.
The player with the lowest net score for the hole is said to win the hole, the par of each hole doesn't matter.
Effectively you aren't playing the course, as you do in strokeplay, you are playing your opponent.
So if you take four shots and your opponent takes five, you win the hole.
You are now said to be 'one-up'. Your opponent, who lost the hole, is said to be 'one-down'.
If your opponent wins the next hole, the match is 'all-square'.
If you win the next hole, you are two-up.
If both players get the same score the hole is 'halved' and the match score stays the same.
The score is kept by the number of holes up (won) and the number of holes to play. (Example: you are 2-up, with six holes to play.)
Up: A player is ahead in the match
Down: A player is behind in the match
All square: Players have the same score
Halved: Players half the hole when they take the same number of shots
Dormie: E.g. A player is two holes up with two to play
3&2: E.g. A player is three holes up with two holes to play
When a player is up (winning) by more holes than there are holes remaining, then the match is won.
This is when you see the final score of 3&2 for example.
That means three holes up with two holes to play. The other player cannot win in this case.
A match is considered 'dormie' when one side is up by the exact number of holes that remain.
For instance if Player A is 'dormie two' that means he is two holes ahead with two holes to play.
Player B can only halve the match
Because the match is played between the two players or pairings and no-one else, players can opt to 'give' short putts rather than make their opponent hole out.
This often happens for putts within two feet. However the 'given' putt still counts as one stroke.
Sometimes if the pressure is on, players will make their opponent hole out from within this distance.