Published On: Thu, Sep 12th, 2019

How Suzann Pettersen caused 2015 concession controversy at the Solheim Cup – Inside story | Golf | Sport


How Suzann Pettersen caused 2015 concession controversy at the Solheim Cup - Inside story

How Suzann Pettersen caused 2015 concession controversy at the Solheim Cup – Inside story (Image: GETTY)

It was Sunday morning at the St. Leon golf course in Germany and the Solheim Cup was in the balance.

Europe were in the driving seat, but it was close, as Charley Hull and Suzann Pettersen came down the 17th against Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome in the final four ball before the singles.

There was some tension in the group – as is normal on the final day at the Solheim Cup – and the Europeans were growing frustrated with the Americans continually picking the ball up, assuming they’d been given putts.

And on the 17th Norwegian Pettersen stood her ground.

Hull had just drawn the match level on the 16th with a birdie so things were tighter than ever on the final morning and when Lee then missed a putt on the 17th she picked her ball up again believing Europe had conceded the hole.

However Pettersen claimed that wasn’t the case and the match referee awarded Europe the hole – putting them one up with one to play – to the fury of the Americans.

Hull went on to birdie 18 clinching the 2 up victory and putting Europe 10-6 ahead with just the singles to play.

However rather than spur Europe onto victory the incident inspired the historic American fightback.

Both Lee and Hull, 19 at the time, were in tears on the 18th green, as heated discussions threatened to boil over.

How Suzann Pettersen caused 2015 concession controversy at the Solheim Cup - Inside story

How Suzann Pettersen caused 2015 concession controversy at the Solheim Cup – Inside story (Image: GETTY)

US captain Juli Inkster said: ”If that’s the way they want to play, let’s go.”

Stacy Lewis added: “Let’s use this to motivate ourselves,” before leading several of her team-mates in a chant of: “Class, style, U-S-A.”

And it did motivate them. USA ran out 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 winners in stunning fashion, in what was dubbed the most impressive fightback since 2009.

And it wasn’t just the Americans who were unimpressed with the incident, with 12-time Solheim Cuper Dame Laura Davies condemning the actions of Pettersen

“Disgusted,” she said when asked for her reaction.

“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 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.

“Poor old Alison Lee must think, ‘I hope I never play a Solheim Cup again’. She has had food poisoning and now she has been wronged by one of the most senior players in golf and [who] used to be one of the most respected players.

“I know Pettersen is angry and justifying everything, but she has let herself down and she has certainly let her team down. I am so glad I am not on that team this time.

“If they win they are going to think, ‘Why did we do that?’ or, ‘Why did Suzann do that?”‘

Pettersen did eventually apologise for the incident, posting an emotional message on Instagram.

She wrote: “I’ve never felt more gutted and truly sad about what went down Sunday on the 17th at the Solheim Cup.

“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.

“To the U.S. team, you guys have a great leader in Juli , who I’ve always looked up to and respect so much. Knowing I need to make things “right,” I had a face to face chat with her before leaving Germany this morning to tell her in person how I really feel about all of this. I wanted her also to know that I am sorry.

How Suzann Pettersen caused 2015 concession controversy at the Solheim Cup - Inside story

How Suzann Pettersen caused 2015 concession controversy at the Solheim Cup – Inside story (Image: GETTY)

“I hope in time the U.S. team will forgive me and know that I have learned a valuable lesson about what is truly important in this great game of golf which has given me so much in my life.

“To the fans of golf who watched the competition on TV, I am sorry for the way I carried myself. I can be so much better and being an ambassador for this great game means a lot to me.

“The Solheim Cup has been a huge part of my career. I wish I could change Sunday for many reasons. Unfortunately I can’t.

“This week I want to push forward toward another opportunity to earn the Solheim Cup back for Europe in the right way. And I want to work hard to earn back your belief in me as someone who plays hard, plays fair and plays the great game of golf the right way.”



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