ST. LEON-ROT, Germany – American Alison Lee won’t be available for Friday’s opening session at the Solheim Cup and is questionable for the afternoon session because of a lingering illness, U.S. captain Juli Inkster said.
Lee was scheduled to team with Michelle Wie in foursomes, but Lee’s illness led Inkster to improvise last minute, teaming Brittany Lincicome with Wie, instead, in an opening session match against Europe’s Charley Hull and Melissa Reid.
Lee said Wednesday afternoon that she thought she was suffering from food poisoning. She missed the Solheim Cup gala Wednesday night and wasn’t able to practice Thursday morning.
“She just can’t shake this stomach bug,” Inkster said. “They gave her an IV of fluid today, but we’ll just see how it goes.”
Lee was able to attend Thursday’s opening ceremony and is hopeful she will rebound quickly.
“I didn’t feel too good this morning, I threw up twice, but I went back to the hotel and took like a two-hour nap,” Lee said. “It was a great nap. I really needed it. I haven’t been sleeping well the past couple of days. After I woke up, I felt brand new ... I’m really disappointed that I can’t play tomorrow morning. I was really hoping to, but I will be fresh and ready for tomorrow afternoon.”
Lee said she is on a BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast).
Inkster could have replaced Lee right up until the start of the opening ceremony, but she chose not to do so. Each captain submitted one alternate’s name in case a player needed to be replaced. Inkster’s alternate was Austin Ernst.
“It’s hard to get someone over from the United States on time,” Inkster said. “We can’t get our player over here.”
Inkster wasn’t sure if Lee would be ready for the Friday afternoon fourballs session, either.
“Probably not,” Inkster said. “I’m a little worried to send her out. We’ve just got to see how it evolves. She thinks she’s getting better, and as soon as she starts eating something, it doesn’t sit well with her. Right now, we’ve kept her out of the morning matches, see how she does tonight and see if she can keep some food down.
“What I’m worried about is her strength and being able to handle not only the mental aspect, but the physical aspect. She hasn’t eaten at all in almost 48 hours. That’s a lot on your body.”
Should Lee remain sick and not be able to play Friday and Saturday, she’s still eligible to play in Sunday singles. Every player is required to play in one foursome or fourball match to be eligible for Sunday singles except in the case where a player is ill or there is a bereavement issue.
Lee, 20, is the only rookie in the matches. She practiced with Wie all week. They were part of Inkster’s “pod” system.
“We’re just going to play it by ear and see how things progress with her,” Inkster said. “I know she wants to play. I know I want to get her out there. I was planning on riding her hard, but these things are unexpected and you’ve just got to kind of roll with them.”
Inkster said she never seriously considered being a playing captain as the alternate named in advance.
“That ain’t gonna happen,” Inkster cracked. “I’ve seen that golf course. I don’t want to hit a shot.”
Inkster also admitted she had to improvise earlier than expected.
“It’s definitely a disruption,” Inkster said. “But you know what? You just go with it. There are a lot of teams that play a man down and are successful.”