ST. LEON-ROT, Germany – The Solheim Cup captain’s agreement was the source of much tension Saturday at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club.
Before the morning foursomes began, there was a dispute between the Americans and Europeans over how advice is given to players during the competition.
Later, with the afternoon fourballs beginning, there was confusion over the revision of tee times for players needing breaks after playing a morning session.
U.S. captain Juli Inkster, European captain Carin Koch and European assistant captain Annika Sorenstam had a heated discussion over how advice is properly communicated to players during matches.
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. A television camera captured Inkster clearly upset in an animated conversation with Koch and Sorenstam.
“We had a discussion about the captain’s agreement,” Inkster told GolfChannel.com on the first tee during the start of Saturday morning foursomes. “It’s over now.”
Inkster made light of the disagreement in an on-air interview with Golf Channel.
“I just wanted to invite them for Thanksgiving dinner, and they declined,” Inkster said. “So I was upset about that.
“We just had a little discussion that was going on. It’s no big deal. We’re over it.”
Koch also declined to detail what specifically was at issue when approached by GolfChannel.com at the first tee, but two years ago a similar dispute occurred when Americans complained at Colorado Golf Club that assistant captain Annika Sorenstam improperly gave advice to players during competition. In a match there, Americans complained that Sorenstam told 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 European player Jodi Ewart-Shadoff conceding Creamer’s putt.
GolfChannel.com asked Sorenstam Saturday what specific “advice” was at issue in the disagreement with Inkster, but Sorenstam declined to elaborate.
“It happened this morning,” Sorenstam said. “It’s over. Move on.”
In the afternoon, tension mounted with Lizette Salas and Brittany Lang waiting at the first tee for their 2:15 p.m. start time. Their opponents, Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher, were nowhere to be found. The Americans were informed that Matthew and Icher were allowed 40 minutes of rest by captain’s agreement after the completion of the morning foursomes. Matthew finished foursomes about 20 minutes before she was scheduled to play in the afternoon.
“They need sufficient time where they can eat and warm up a little bit again,” Koch said. “There was some confusion.”
The Europeans were allowed a later tee time, but Solheim Cup officials didn’t inform the Americans their tee times were being pushed back. The tee time was bumped back 45 minutes. It also caused the Suzann Pettersen/Charley Hull vs. Alison Lee/Brittany Lincicome tee time to be moved back 45 minutes.