The Solheim Cup gets underway at Gleneagles tomorrow (Friday) – and if recent tournaments are anything to go by, there will be plenty of drama.
The biennial women’s golf tournament sees Europe looking to regain the prestigious trophy from the USA, who have held the silverware since a dramatic comeback in 2015. But their triumph four years ago came amid controversy, sparking a fierce rivalry which is now set to resume in Scotland. There will be plenty of tension on the course, as there is every time the two rivals meet, but all eyes will be on whether it boils over as it did four years ago, the last time the event took place in Europe.
The United States produced a dramatic comeback in Germany, winning 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 when the weekend drew to a close. They were ultimately driven on by what they perceived to be a great injustice when losing 10-6 and staring down the barrel of defeat at the end of Saturday’s singles action.
USA’s Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome were involved in a tight match with Charley Hull and Suzann Pettersen in their fourball match, entering the 17th hole all square after Europe birdied the 16th. Lee came within inches of giving the USA the lead going into the last, sliding a putt just past the hole.
Hull, who was due to take her to putt next, started walking off the great along with Pettersen, caddies, rules officials and scorers leading to Lee presuming she had been awarded her next putt as a “gimme”.
She duly scooped up her ball – only for Pettersen to claim she had never been given the putt. It led to Europe being awarded the hole, ultimately winning the match, due to Lee picking her ball up prematurely.
Pettersen, who initially defended her actions when approached by European captain Carin Koch, left team-mate Hull and opponent Lee in tears over the incident.
Norwegian Pettersen, chosen as a captain’s pick for this year’s tournament, was slammed by Hall of Fame inductee and friend Laura Davies on Sky Sports after the incident. Disgusted,” Davies said. “We have got our best player, Charley Hull, who has just won a point and she is in floods of tears. That tells you the wrong thing was done.
“How Suzann can justify that I will be able to never, ever know. We are all fierce competitors but ultimately, it’s unfair. We have to play week in, week out together and you do not do something like that to a fellow pro.”
There’s no way they could ever justify that,” she said. “Don’t care what they say. You just don’t do that to your peers.”
Whilst not the first controversy to hit the Solheim Cup, the explosive 2015 incident gained plenty of attention.
It has simply increased the drama and interest surrounding the popular event, which will again be in the limelight over the weekend in Scotland.