ST. LEON-ROT, Germany – Annika Sorenstam found herself in the middle of yet more Solheim Cup tension last weekend, but she wanted to make it clear Sunday night that she wasn’t fairly placed there.
Television cameras captured Sorenstam and European captain Carin Koch in a heated discussion with U.S. captain Juli Inkster over how advice is properly communicated to players during the competition. There was no sound with the images, but the parties were clearly agitated.
By rules, only the captain can give advice to players during the competition, unless the captain designates someone to take her place in that role. Sorenstam took issue with reports that she was violating the rules by giving advice as an assistant.
“Just to clarify, I was wrongly accused of giving advice,” Sorenstam said. “I've known the lesson from Colorado. I know what a vice captain can do. I was extremely hurt. I was insulted, and I addressed it with Juli. So as far as giving advice and what to do, I was put on this team to inspire this team, and that's what I do. I will continue to do that.”
Two years ago a similar dispute occurred when Americans complained at Colorado Golf Club that Sorenstam improperly gave advice to players during competition. In a match there, Americans accused Sorenstam of telling a European caddie to concede a putt for par to Paula Creamer so Creamer couldn’t show American teammate Lexi Thompson the line for a more important birdie putt. That led to Europe’s Jodi Ewart-Shadoff conceding Creamer’s putt.
A British writer on Sunday asked Sorenstam if she was eager to become the European captain for the first time so there wouldn’t be any more problems giving advice.
“I don’t think that was very nice,” Sorenstam said.
But would Sorenstam like to lead the Europeans?
“I would love to be captain one day,” she said.
Sorenstam, a Hall of Famer and former Solheim Cup star, was also part of what might have been the most heated moment in Solheim Cup history before this year’s phantom concession controversy involving Suzann Pettersen and Alison lee. In 2000 at Loch Lomond, Sorenstam chipped in to halve a hole, only to have U.S. captain Pat Bradley step in and make her replay the shot because the Europeans weren’t actually away. It angered Sorenstam and created hard feelings between the teams.