Suzann Pettersen, a stalwart of the women’s game, decided there was no better way to end her time as a professional golfer after announcing her retirement immediately after sinking the winning putt in the 2019 Solheim Cup.
Having been selected as a controversial wildcard pick in the European Team at the age of 38 and having not played competitive golf for two years, the golfing gods were smiling down on Pettersen at Gleneagles on Sunday.
Playing in Match 10, the Norwegian was left with an eight-foot putt on the 18th green which she thought was to win her match against the United States’ Marina Alex.
Little did Pettersen know that it was actually for the Solheim Cup after Bronte Law and Anna Norqvist, playing in the final two matches, had already sealed the victories needed to keep European hopes alive.
Pettersen rolled in the putt to seal a 14.5-13.5 win, released a scream of emotion and was mobbed by her team-mates on the 18th green. Even as the celebrations began, she initially had little idea the putt had secured the Solheim Cup.
And, surrounded by the same team-mates who had fought to have her selected as a wildcard before the Solheim Cup, Pettersen announced at the post-event press conference that the putt would be the last of her professional golfing career.
“I think this is the perfect closure,” Pettersen said. “A nice ‘the end’ for [my] professional career. It doesn’t get any better. Yeah, this is it. I’m completely done. I’m closing it down tomorrow, what more can I say? I’m done.”
Pettersen was initially meant to be one of European captain Catriona Matthew’s vice-captains before she was handed a wildcard. It followed two years on the sidelines following the birth of her son Herman. And she is now looking forward to getting back to being a mum.
“Life’s changed so much for me over the last year,” Pettersen said. “He’s obviously the biggest thing that’s ever happened for me. But now I know what it feels like to win as a mom. I’m going to leave it like that.”
And what of the winning putt? Pettersen added: “It really was a big blur. I didn’t know. I was just trying to make a birdie. It’s a dream come true to pull this off here in Scotland, in front of these crowds, for Beany (Catriona Matthew), here at Gleneagles.”
The singles win took Pettersen’s Solheim Cup record to an 18-12-6 W-L-D record across nine appearances and was her 21st point collected for the European team. She was on the winning side in four of her nine Solheim Cups.
Her career record saw Pettersen win 22 times—15 on the LPGA Tour and 7 on the Ladies European Tour—and saw her reach a career high of world number two. The wins spanned 14 years from the first at the 2001 Open de France Dames to the most recent at the 2015 Manulife LPGA Classic.
Pettersen won the first of her two major titles in 2007 when lifting the Women’s PGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Maryland, and added her second at the 2013 Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in France.