Suzann Pettersen shoulders ultimate pressure for Europe at Solheim Cup

Suzann Pettersen shoulders ultimate pressure for Europe at Solheim Cup

Solheim Cup

Suzann Pettersen shoulders ultimate pressure for Europe at Solheim Cup

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GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Suzann Pettersen has lost her voice ahead of the 16th Solheim Cup. She better hope that’s the only issue she’s struggling with this week.

There’s a lot of pressure on the Norwegian’s shoulders.

Pettersen makes her ninth appearance in the biennial match. She holds a 16-11-6 record and has appeared on three winning teams. She’s been Europe’s on-course leader for most of those matches. No one wears the yellow and blue colors of the European flag more proudly than Pettersen. She is to the Solheim cup as Ian Poulter is to the Ryder Cup.

In fact, when asked to respond to Danielle Kang’s fighting talk, Pettersen almost reverted to type. “We’re just going to step on their necks,” she joked.

Whereas Pettersen previously slotted seamlessly into the European team, there are question marks over her selection as a wild card pick this year.

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The 38-year-old’s inclusion raised a few eyebrows when European Captain Catriona Matthew chose her. Pettersen had played just one Rolex Ranking event in 18 months, missing the cut in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. It was her first event since the CME Group Tour Championship in November 2017. The birth of her first child, Herman, naturally put her playing career on hold.

The 15-time LPGA winner has played twice since her wild card pick. She finished T59 in the CP Women’s Open and missed the cut in Cambia Portland Classic. It’s hardly the sort of form needed for the cut and thrust of the Solheim Cup.

“My golf game is in great shape,” Pettersen said. “Being here, it feels like I never left the game, which is kind of nice. I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere, the energy or everything that Solheim is all about that always brings out the best of all of us.”

Pettersen was originally down to act as one of Matthew’s vice-captains. The Scot named Bronte Law, Celine Boutier and Jodi Ewart-Shadoff as three of her wild card picks. Many expected three-time Solheim Cup player Mel Reid to be the fourth selection, but the English player was in no form for Gleneagles. Reid basically swapped places with Pettersen and is a member of Matthew’s back room staff this week.

Pettersen has no qualms about how her game will hold up over the next three days.

“When this potential pick came up, I was very honest with the entire captain’s crew,” she said. “It was a little bit hard because I was kind of part of it as well, but I feel like I’ve been very honest about where I felt my game was at this time and if it was going to be good enough for a stage like this.”

It better be or she, and Matthew, are going to shoulder a lot of criticism.

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