I’m sure I’m the same as most of you – I’m totally fed up hearing about Europe and Brexit, however this evening there was great news from Europe – we beat the Americans to lift the Solheim Cup!
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew captained the European team and in August she announced her four Captain’s Picks to mixed reviews. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was described as her boldest choice. Pettersen is one of the most accomplished winners in the European Tour ranks today and among the most decorated Solheim Cup players in the event’s history, but she took 20 months off around the birth of her child and only played in two stroke-play events since her return to the LPGA in the summer. Many commentators thought that Catriona Matthew had been foolish to include her, as she would be bound to be a little “rusty”, whilst others were quick to point out her impressive record in the biennial event: prior to this weekend Pettersen had won 19 Solheim Cup points in her career, trailing only Laura Davies (25), Annika Sorenstam (24) and Matthew (22) for most in team history. In August, Randall Mell of the Golf Channel described her as “the heart and soul of the modern European Solheim effort, leading Europe’s resurgence,” so it was clear that Pettersen would have a key motivational role to play in Gleneagles come September.
Commentators also reminded us that Pettersen had been at the centre of a controversy in Germany at the 2015 Solheim Cup, when Alison Lee lost the Americans a hole for picking up her ball when it wasn’t actually conceded in a four-ball match. It created a firestorm within the American ranks over Pettersen holding Lee accountable in the confusion. As one of the BBC commentators stated when discussing Matthew’s choice of Pettersen, “Suzann Pettersen is someone you don’t want to mess with!”
So, this evening had a fairytale ending, which totally vindicated Catriona Matthew’s decision to bring Pettersen onto the team. The competition couldn’t have any been any tighter. Both teams entered the final day with 8 points, so everything came down to the singles – where no-one can hide! And it all came down to the final putt – a 7′ birdie putt. With one stroke of her putter, Suzann Pettersen became the Europe’s Solheim Cup Hero.
Then she figuratively rode off into the sunset – she announced her retirement. “I think this is the perfect closure,” she said. “It doesn’t get any better.”
If you missed the action, here’s a 2 minute video of some of Suzann’s highlights.
So, what can we take from this?
- If you’ve got what it takes, you won’t lose it easily.
- Having an impressive stroke play record isn’t vital for match play success.
- Even if we do leave the European Union at 23:00 GMT on 31 October 2019 without a deal, we’re still in the Solheim Cup for evermore! And Eurovision (is that a good thing?!?)