Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen produced one of sport’s greatest mic-drop moments at the 2019 Solheim Cup.
The legendary Norwegian golfer will lead the Europeans at the luxury Finca Cortesin resort in Spain this week as they look to defend their 2021 title.
And it is only right that Pettersen leads that defence after regaining the Solheim Cup for Europe in 2019.
The 42-year-old was a controversial captain’s pick from Catrina Matthews after spending 20 months away from the game due to maternity leave.
In the build-up, Pettersen had only played in four professional events and missed the cut in three.
At her most recent Solheim Cup as a player in 2015, Pettersen considered quitting after a furious backlash to ‘Gimme-gate’.
Alison Lee picked up a two-foot putt which had not yet been conceded and Pettersen refused to let it slide, ultimately leading to a point for Team Europe.
The American was seen crying behind the 18th green and current US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson branded Pettersen’s behaviour a disgrace.
Fast-forward four years, Pettersen was ranked 644th in the world and set to represent Europe as a vice captain at the 2019 event.
Her selection as a player was a huge shock – and soon became the event’s main talking point.
Those criticising Matthews’ decision were forced to eat their words as the Norwegian won all three of her matches, including a decisive triumph in the Sunday Singles.
A fiercely-contested Solheim Cup came down to one ten-foot putt for Pettersen on the 18th green.
Not only that, a career spanning two decades, including 15 LPGA Tour wins and two majors, would also be defined by this moment.
Gleneagles fell silent, before erupting as the nine-time Solheim Cup veteran holed it right in the centre of the cup at perfect pace.
The story did not end there, as something even more remarkable happened immediately afterwards.
Pettersen grabbed the microphone and told Sky Sports: “I think this is a perfect closure.
“A nice ‘the end’ for [my] professional career. It doesn’t get any better.
“Life’s changed so much for me over the last year. He’s [son Herman] obviously the biggest thing that’s ever happened for me.
“But now I know what it feels like to win as a mum. I’m going to leave it like that.”
Like Stuart Broad’s last delivery in the 2023 Ashes, Pettersen’s final contribution as a golfer could not have been more meaningful.
And it finally lifted the weight on her shoulders which had been there for four years.
Having gone from public enemy no.1 to a true Solheim Cup hero, Pettersen recently said: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but it literally almost killed my desire to go out on the golf course and compete again.
“It’s hard to be criticised for not standing true to the core values you live by like fair play, honesty and respect, and I’m not going to lie, it took a huge toll on me.
“The weight didn’t lift until the last putt dropped at Gleneagles.”
The next chapter in Pettersen’s story will see her captain a star-studded European team, featuring Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, as they take on the Americans this week.
Speaking in a recent interview with The Times, she said: “It just felt like the natural next step.
“I’ve had so many great moments at the Solheim Cup, and we have all the chances in the world to make more history.”
Located on the Andalusian coast and named ‘Spain’s Best Golf Course’ at the 2022 World Golf Awards, Finca Cortesin has hosted the Volvo World Match Play Championship on three separate occasions.
At 7,500 yards, the course is renowned for being one of the longest in Europe and it’s the first time that anywhere in Spain will host the Solheim Cup where the world’s best female golfers compete.
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