In case you did not know, the Solheim Cup is an every-other-year golf tournament for professional women golfers represented by teams from the U. S. and Europe. It is named after the Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer Karsten Solheim, who was a driving force behind its founding.
Julie Inkster (a favorite of mine) captained this year's U. S. team to victory 14 1/2 points over Europe's 13 1/2 points. Carin Koch was captain of the European team. LPGA fans will know most of the European players because they play on the LPGA. But when it comes to winning, friendships are set aside as the ladies go at each other for the crystal.
The tension began with the captains and assistants. It was about giving advice, a golf rule that can cover hundreds of pages in a book called "Decisions on the Rules of Golf." It truly is enough to make one's neck twist. I make it a point to never, ever, give advice. In the Solheim format, only captains can give advice to a player, unless she designates someone to act in her stead. Although participants in this advice-giving quarrel - Inkster, Koch and Sorenstam (an assistant to Koch) - declined to give exact reasons for the dispute, there was some apparent on-camera bad blood.
To add to that tension, when the fourballs began, there was confusion over the revision of tee times for players needing breaks after playing their morning sessions. The pair of Americans showed up for their tee times with two opponents from the European side, but that team was no where to be found.
To cap that, tension boiled to tears when Alison Lee, of the United States, believed she had been conceded a 15 inch putt by Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull on the 17th green. Lee believes (having said later) that she heard the concession and that Pettersen and Hull had their backs turned as if to walk off the green.
But not so fast, Miss Lee.
Pettersen insisted that there was no concession to the putt and that her team won the match 2 up. The rules' official said there was no way they could let Lee replace the ball and putt out. Had the putt been ruled conceded, the Americans would go to the 18th 1 down. A chance to tie.
Both Hull and Lee were crying before leaving the course. (See above link. Strong language advised.)
Pettersen is roundly seen as the villain.
But the U. S. got back. They won the coveted Solheim Cup and stopped Europe's winning streak.