Suzann Pettersen named Solheim 2023 European Cup captain | Golf News and Tour Information
Suzann Pettersen has played different roles over the years at the Solheim Cup. But the two-time major champion says the job she’s just been given tops them all. In 2023, at Finca Cortesin in Spain, Pettersen will captain the European team. The 40-year-old Norwegian succeeds Catriona Matthew, who was the winning European captain in 2019 at Gleneagles and 2021 at Inverness.
“I’m just thrilled to be named captain of the Solheim Cup. It’s the greatest honor of my career,” Pettersen said. “My fondest golf memories come from the Solheim Cup. You’re out there with your teammates, your friends, and you’re all working for one goal. You fight for your friends and you share incredibly precious moments.
It’s a fitting next chapter in what has been a thrilling Solheim Cup career dating back to her first appearance in 2002. Pettersen trails only Laura Davis for the most appearances by a European as a player with nine (she was selected for a 10th team in 2017 but had to retire), and twice she was vice-captain. Meanwhile, Europe have won five times and Pettersen found themselves in the midst of controversy and at the center of one of the most iconic moments in Solheim Cup history.
In German 2015, Pettersen was paired with Charley Hull, in a four-ball match against Americans Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome. Lee missed a putt on the 17th and recovered the par putt on his way back as everyone in the group headed for the next tee. Pettersen, however, said she never gave Lee the putt. The holeshot went from a half to a win for the European team, putting them 1 with one to go. Lee was in shock and started to cry, as did Hull, and Europe captain Carin Koch questioned Pettersen. The whole scene was chaotic, passionate and emotional. Pettersen did not hesitate on his call. She and Hull won the match. Team USA was able to use this moment as motivation to pull off the biggest comeback in Solheim Cup history the following day. Pettersen left the competition in the face of heavy criticism.
Fast forward four years, and Pettersen is playing in the Solheim Cup in Scotland as the unlikely captain’s choice. She hadn’t played much competitive golf since giving birth to her son earlier that summer, but Catriona Matthew took a chance with the veteran who was then ranked No. 635 in the world. It paid off. The competition came down to the Sunday singles, the 18th hole at Gleneagles and Pettersen’s seven-foot birdie putt against Marina Alex. Hole, and Europe wins the decisive point. Pettersen was fist pumping before the ball dropped; she knew it. His team and captains rushed to the green, surrounding him in what was one of the most memorable scenes at the Solheim Cup. Quickly, Pettersen announced his retirement, saying it would never get better than this moment. The drama of 2015 has been forgotten; Pettersen was a true hero.
As Pettersen prepares to captain Europe in 2023, she will no doubt bring her unabashed competitiveness, passion and an incredible amount of experience. And as always with Pettersen, don’t be surprised to see fireworks too.