Repentant Pettersen apologises for losing sight of ‘bigger picture’ in Solheim Cup

United States celebrate their Solheim Cup triumph with the trophy in St Leon-Rot, Germany (Picture: Michael Probst/AP).
United States celebrate their Solheim Cup triumph with the trophy in St Leon-Rot, Germany (Picture: Michael Probst/AP).
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DAME Laura Davies believes the controversy which marred the final day of the Solheim Cup contributed to Europe surrendering a four-point lead in Germany.

Suzann Pettersen issued an apology on Monday after a heated debate over the concession of a putt threatened to overshadow a record comeback from the United States at St Leon-Rot.

Pettersen came in for intense criticism after denying she and team-mate Charley Hull had conceded a two-foot putt on the 17th hole of their fourball match on Sunday morning after America’s Alison Lee had picked up her ball.

Europe were awarded the hole and went on to win the match, but it was the indignant Americans who eventually claimed the trophy by recovering from 10-6 down to win 14.5-13.5.

Davies, who was one of Pettersen’s fiercest critics, said: “You think you’re right in the heat of battle, it’s just that she’s a bit headstrong and she couldn’t see the bigger picture and how it really hurt the European team.

“I heard things from some of the other players and caddies that it was really quiet just before they went out for the singles and normally, especially with a big lead, everyone is bouncing around, they’re up for it, the music’s playing, but apparently that wasn’t happening.

“You want to be ruthless, you want to win the point for your team. You do things and sometimes regret them, but hopefully you regret them a bit quicker.

“Suzann was within the rules, but it’s just not in the spirit of the game or the Solheim Cup. I know the captain (Carin Koch) tried to change her mind but now in the light of day she has realised it really didn’t help anybody – it certainly didn’t help the Europeans, we ended up losing it.

“She’s made an in-depth, and it looks a heartfelt apology and you can do no more than that. This is obviously going to hurt her for a while but people forget quickly.”

Pettersen initially stood by her actions but released a lengthy statement on Instagram on Monday.

“I’ve never felt more gutted and truly sad about what went down Sunday on the 17th at the Solheim Cup,” the 34-year-old Norwegian wrote. “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 US team, you guys have a great leader in Juli (Inkster), 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.

“I hope in time the US 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.”