DALY CITY, Calif. – It isn’t as if Suzann Pettersen turned into the LPGA’s version of Greta Garbo.
It isn’t as if she became a recluse with the birth of her first child, Herman Alexander, nine months ago, but she has virtually disappeared from tour life for a year-and-a-half now. She has disappeared from the fabric of tournament life in a way that has left fellow tour pros uncertain what her future holds in the game.
She’s a tour mystery.
Nobody here at the Mediheal Championship is quite sure what Pettersen’s plans are, where her career is headed, whether she is so devoted to her new life as a mom that she’s content to become a part-time player and give up some of the lofty aspirations she once coveted, or whether there’s an epic comeback quietly in the making.
“There are rumors that maybe she wants to try for a second baby quickly, but I don’t know,” Brittany Lincicome said. “Who knows?”
About all tour players know for sure is that Pettersen plans to tee it up at the new Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational team event in Michigan in July. She is an official Dow ambassador, one of the players the company sponsors.
“I’m partnering with her in the Dow,” Catriona Matthew said Wednesday as she prepared to play the Mediheal Championship. “So, you know she’s playing there. Apart from that, it’s really up to her. I know she’s really quite happy at home at the moment.”
Matthew is the European Solheim Cup captain, and Pettersen is one of her vice captains. Even Matthew, however, doesn’t seem sure if Pettersen might try to mount a late blitz to make the team for the ninth time, perhaps as a captain’s pick. Pettersen was the undisputed team leader in some of Europe’s big victories against the Americans.
“I would say she’s very committed to being a vice captain and that is her main focus at the moment,” Matthew said.
Pettersen’s only real public appearance in golf this year was at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational media event in Midland, Mich., in February
“At this point, I’m really just trying to enjoy life and be a mother," Pettersen said when asked there about her future golf plans. "It’s been a blessing to have a child. Life is different."
She also appeared at the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland in January.
“I’ve talked and texted with her,” Solheim Cup teammate Carlota Ciganda said. “I know she’s playing the Dow team event, but I don’t know if she’s going to play something before or anything after. I don’t really know.”
Ciganda knows Pettersen enjoyed some skiing this winter in her native Norway, where she spent time with her son and husband, Christian.
“I think she’s just enjoying being a mom, being with her son,” Ciganda said. “I don’t know much more.”
Neither does fellow Scandinavian Pernilla Lindberg.
“All I know is what everyone else has seen on social media,” Lindberg said.
Pettersen has turned down three GolfChannel.com interview requests this year through her agent.
She also declined an invitation to appear on Morning Drive a few weeks ago.
Pettersen’s fans have kept up with periodic social media posts. Last month, Pettersen posted a photo of herself on Instagram hitting a shot at Orange Tree Country Club, with her son, Herman, in a stroller beside her. She makes her American home in Orlando, Fla.
“There have been three or four sightings of Suzann out here this winter,” an Orange Tree pro shop staffer said in a telephone call to the club Wednesday.
Two weeks ago, Pettersen posted a photo of herself playing golf at Bay Hill in Orlando with her father and cousin.
Another Instagram photo a week ago got her fans excited. She appeared in more serious practice mode, with some alignment aids on a range.
“Trying to find some good old magic,” she wrote in the post. “Not that easy.”
Pettersen, a 15-time LPGA winner, claimed a pair major championships, the McDonald’s LPGA Championship in 2007 and the Evian Championship in 2013. Nobody’s sure if she craves another major, or if she is even going to play in another.
Until she shares her plans, fellow players aren’t quite sure how much more they’ll get to see her inside the ropes this year and beyond.