Stacy Lewis pulls out of Solheim Cup due to back injury

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Stacy Lewis pulls out of Solheim Cup due to back injury

Solheim Cup

Stacy Lewis pulls out of Solheim Cup due to back injury

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The last time Stacy Lewis pulled out of a tournament because of her back was during her junior year at Arkansas. It’s a remarkable run for a woman with a stainless-steel rod and five metal screws down her back.

But the timing of this particular flair-up couldn’t have been worse. The pain began at the LPGA stop in Portland, Ore., and Lewis hoped that a few days of rest would put it all behind her. Instead, the captain’s pick called Juli Inkster last Thursday and told her that she might want to fly over alternate Ally McDonald earlier than expected.

“I’ve had MRIs, X-rays, ultrasounds and we haven’t really been able to pinpoint it,” said Lewis, who wore a back brace as a kid as she battled scoliosis. “We think it’s muscular, but we don’t really know.”

SOLHEIM CUP 2019: Meet the U.S. team

Lewis didn’t want the team to face a situation in which they’d only have 11 players for singles. She broke down in tears at Gleneagles on Monday at the realization that she’d have to pull out. Her father, Dale, can’t remember a time his daughter cried on a golf course out of despair.

Ally McDonald and Stacy Lewis pose for a picture at The Solheim Cup on Sept. 10, 2019 in Scotland. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

“I was glad we didn’t do this press conference yesterday because I don’t think I could have gotten a word out,” said Lewis, calling the Solheim Cup her favorite tournament on the schedule.

Lewis walked alongside McDonald during Tuesday’s practice round. Inkster said Lewis’ leadership skills and insight into the players will still be called upon this week. Exactly half of Team USA is made up of rookies.

“It’s just a hard decision because I picked Stacy because she’s one of our leaders,” said Inkster. “And I really wanted her to pay. But I feel like I really have the best of both worlds right now; I’ve got a healthy player and I have Stacy helping us out.”

Once again Inkster is using a pod system to determine the pairings. She said it was easy to slide McDonald into Lewis’ position because they have similar games and similar personalities.

“I came in mentally prepared to step in as a player or even as a cheerleader,” said McDonald, who arrived at Gleneagles on Wednesday.

“Obviously I didn’t want it this way, and hopefully Stacy gets better ASAP. But I’m excited to be part of the team, and hopefully I can contribute a lot.”

The Solheim Cup

When: Sept. 13-15
Where: Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary Course, Perth, Scotland
Team USA captain: Juli Inkster
Team Europe captain: Catriona Matthew
Team USA: Marina Alex, Brittany Altomare, Danielle Kang, Megan Khang, Jessica Korda, Nelly Korda, Ally McDonald, Annie Park, Morgan Pressel, Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson, Angel Yin
Team Europe: Celine Boutier, Carlota Ciganda, Anne van Dam, Georgia Hall, Caroline Hedwall, Charley Hull, Bronte Law, Carline Masson, Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen, Jodi Ewart-Shadoff

Solheim Cup on TV

Friday, 3 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Golf Channel

Saturday, 3 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Golf Channel

Sunday, 6:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Golf Channel

All times ET

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