By: Marcus Washington
The story was already written by so many. The U.S.A. team would make a spirited comeback in Sunday Singles and would come up just short, and it would be Suzann Pettersen’s fault.
Before most Americans were out of their beds, three matches from Saturday’s Fourball needed to be completed. With the U.S. Women’s team up in three of the matches, ol’ Uncle Mo was wearing red, white and blue. Then the 17th hole happened in the Pettersen and Hull vs. Lee and Lincicome match. After missing a putt to win the hole, Lee mistakenly picked up her ball without Petterson/Hull conceding the putt. After the rules officials met, it was determined that Lee/Lincicome violated a rule and Pettersen/Hull were correctly awarded the hole.
Immediately after that, Pettersen would have her character and integrity attacked by anyone with access to a computer. It was perceived that she had violated the “spirit of the game”, whatever that might be. If the rules officials thought Pettersen/Hull were wrong, the rules allow the opportunity to allow Lee to place her ball and putt it out. but it was obvious that the officials felt like that wasn’t the case.
The real story is what happened after that. Down 10-6 going into Sunday Singles, the Americans made a spirited comeback claiming 8.5 points to win 14.5-13.5 to take back the Solheim Cup.
It wasn’t karma that beat Europeans. It wasn’t Pettersen’s reputation for not coming up big in big moments that beat the Europeans. It was the resolve of the American women that took the Cup away from the Europeans.
It was Lee, Gerina Pillar, Lizette Salas and Angela Stanford who were the difference. All four won matches that you could easily argue that they were underdogs, or 50/50 at best. Lee recovered from the earlier hysteria and defeated Gwladys Nocera 3 and 1.
That was followed by probably the most important point for the Americans. The European team needed just a half point to retain the Cup. Caroline Masson was sitting on the green with a chance to win the match while Pillar needed to get up and down. Masson missed her putt while Pillar made the most important pressure putt of the weekend.
Salas fought off Azahara Munoz 3 and 1 while Angela Stanford, known for not coming up big in the Solheim Cup, beat “Public Enemy Number One”, Suzann Pettersen. At that point, the Americans knew the Cup was coming back to the USA, because the Europeans were being dominated in the final three pairings by Michelle Wie, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
You can credit U.S. Captain Juli Inkster’s modified pod system, her guts to put a struggling Creamer on the team, just good old American resolve or all of the above, for the spirited comeback, not Pettersen. That’s not fair to our U.S. women.