Suzann Pettersen announces retirement after Solheim Cup heroics

AP Photo/Peter Morrison

Suzann Pettersen announces retirement after Solheim Cup heroics

Solheim Cup

Suzann Pettersen announces retirement after Solheim Cup heroics

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GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Suzann Pettersen is taking the rest of her life off. Can we blame her?

No. After all, what mountain do you climb after you’ve scaled Mount Everest.

Pettersen’s ultimate peak came amid Scotland’s Ochil Hills, on the 18th hole at Gleneagles. She holed a seven-foot putt that gave Europe the sweetest of victories and decided she had no more mountains left to scale.

“I don’t have any plans from tomorrow,” Pettersen said. “I’m closing it down.

“This is a perfect closure,” she added. “The end for my professional career. It doesn’t get any better.”

Anyone suggesting a script which featured the nine-time Solheim Cup veteran standing on the 18th green in the final match on the course on Sunday with a seven-foot putt to decide the Cup would have been laughed out of a movie producer’s office. Said producer would have missed out on a blockbuster, one with the ending to end all endings.

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Pettersen wasn’t supposed to be on this European team. Mel Reid was. Pettersen was originally one of Catriona Matthew’s vice captains. She only stepped on to the team as a wild-card pick because Reid was playing badly. Pettersen wasn’t in great form either. The 38-year-old had played just three Rolex Ranking events in 18 months with two missed cuts and a T-59 in the CP Women’s Open. Yet the Norwegian stood up and was more than counted on at Gleneagles.

“That’s the greatest moment she’s had as a Solheim Cup player,” said Laura Davies, one of Matthew’s vice captains. “She’s got nothing left to prove.”

Matthew had insisted all week she had no questions over Pettersen’s selection. She had faith in her to lead rookie Anne van Dam in the opening fourballs, and they ran out 4&2 winners over Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas.

Matthew had no qualms about putting her at the bottom of her singles lineup along with Bronte Law and Anna Nordqvist in the hope she would come good at the end. She did after Nordqvist and Law contributed valuable points.

What shouldn’t be forgotten is that if Pettersen had missed that putt, then Team USA would have retained the Cup.

Perhaps more importantly, Pettersen achieved redemption for four years ago. She played the pantomime villain in 2015 when she was castigated for her actions in a match with Charley Hull against Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome over the concession of a short putt. It turned that Solheim Cup in America’s favor.

“She’s gone from the villain to the hero in one fell swoop,” Davies said. “You can’t cover it up that that (the 2015 incident) changed the momentum of the Solheim Cup. It’s nice for her that she can come back four years later and win the cup for us with one stroke.”

Team Europe celebrate as Suzann Pettersen makes a birdie putt to clinch the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

Matthew paid tribute to the player who’s arguably invested more passion into the match than any other European.

“She’s been one of the trailblazers in European women’s golf,” Matthew said. “She’s just been a huge part of women’s golf and the Solheim Cup. It’s such a special moment for her. If this happens to be her last moment in professional golf, well, she may as well go out at the top.”

Pettersen may have called a day on her playing career, but don’t think this is the end of her Solheim Cup career. She’ll definitely captain a future European team. Perhaps two years from now if Matthew doesn’t want the job.

It’s hard to imagine she’ll find as much satisfaction in the captain’s role as she found on Gleneagles’s 18th green in the Scottish sunlight as the hero of Europe’s greatest Solheim Cup victory.

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