September 21, 2019, 4:55

Solheim Cup controversies: Six clashes between Europe and the USA

Solheim Cup controversies: Six clashes between Europe and the USA

There have been a number of controversial moments in the history of the Solheim Cup as the intensity of the competition takes its toll.

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The 2015 Solheim Cup, which saw the United States produce a dramatic comeback victory, was marred by controversy after Europe’s Suzann Pettersen was embroiled in a concession furore against the USA.

Pettersen, who initially showed no regret about the incident before publically apologising, was criticised after failing to grant her American opponent Alison Lee an apparent “gimmie” putt during a fourball encounter.

After missing a putt to win the 17th hole Lee picked up her ball believing the remaining short putt had been conceded only for the experienced Norwegian to claim the European pairing of Pettersen and Charley Hull, who was already walking to the next tee, had not given the go-ahead.

Europe would go on to win the match and take a commanding 10-6 lead into the singles action only for the United States, motivated by a sense of injustice, to mount an impressive fightback to clinch their first Solheim Cup since 2009.

Ahead of the 2019 contest at Gleneagles, where Team USA are chasing a third consecutive victory, we look at five other notable flashpoints…

2000 – No repeat

When Annika Sorenstam holed a chip shot from just off the 13th green for birdie, she thought she’d pulled her and Janice Moodie level in their fourball clash with Kelly Roberts and Pat Hurst. Team USA had other ideas.

Despite being on the green, Robbins pointed out that she faced a longer putt than Sorenstam’s chip and, after consulting captain Pat Bradley, ordered the shot to be retaken.

The rules state that, in matchplay, an opponent can force a player to take their shot again for playing out of turn, but Team Europe were still angered by what they branded an “unsporting” decision.

Bradley defended the decision, saying they “have only the greatest respect for the rules of the game” and that they “followed the rules as written”.

Although the European side would go on to lose the match 2and1, they would recover to claim the Solheim Cup trophy for only the second time in their history.

2003 – Call it a day

Europe may have equalled the record home-win in Solheim Cup history with a 17.5-10.5 scoreline, but the seven-point victory didn’t tell the full story.

Needing five points on the final day to take the title, Europe got off to a flying start with Janice Moodie, Sophie Gustafson, Iben Tinning and Annika Sorenstam all making early victories.

Shortly after Catriona Matthew holed the winning putt over Rosie Jones at the penultimate hole, it was decided the rest of the matches still being played would be conceded by the person trailing.

US captain Patty Sheehan said it wasn’t her decision and hoped there wouldn’t be a finish like it again, with four of her five players still out on course ending their singles matches early.

2007 – Always check your mic!

Dottie Pepper forgot to follow the No 1 rule of broadcasting when part of the commentary team at Halmstad, with her comments caught on air and leaving her unpopular with the American team.

The two-time major winner was heard referring to Laura Diaz and Sherri Steinhauer as “choking freaking dogs” after they failed to close their match, leaving Pepper having to repeatedly apologise for a number of years until becoming assistant to the 2013 side.

It wasn’t the first time Pepper had been involved in Solheim Cup controversy, having screamed ‘Yes’ after opponent Laura Davies missed her putt in 1998. When asked about her sportsmanship, she replied: “I don’t really care”.

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2013 – Where to drop?

An incorrect ruling helped Carlota Ciganda save par and guide Europe to victory in their afternoon fourball against Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson.

With the tie all-square with four holes to play, Ciganda and playing partner Suzann Pettersen both sent their second shots at the par-five 15th into the water hazard. While Pettersen didn’t attempt to continue the hole, Ciganda’s decision to take a drop caused confusion between the players and officials.

After a long discussion with rules officials that took the best part of half an hour, Ciganda was allowed to take her fourth stroke some 40 yards behind where the ball was deemed to have gone into the drink, rather than within two club lengths of that point.

The hosts felt that gave the Spaniard an unfair advantage and better position, as she found the green with her fourth shot and holed the 15-foot par save to halve the hole.

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Europe went on to win the 16th hole and close out a narrow 1up victory, helping the visitors to a 5-3 lead after the opening day.

2013 – Who said that?

While rookie pairing Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Charley Hull claimed a surprise 2up win over experienced duo Paula Creamer and Lexi Thompson in the Saturday fourballs, the tie was overshadowed by confusion at the seventh hole.

With the match level and Paula Creamer about to face a bogey putt, one of the European caddies attempted to concede the hole to the Americans on the advice of assistant captain Annika Sorenstam.

A lengthy delay followed while a decision was made as to whether Team Europe should be handed a penalty and although caddies aren’t allowed to give concede holes, no punishment was given.

Source: skysports.com

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