Stacy Lewis joins Suzann Pettersen as feisty foes for 2023 Solheim Cup

Hold on to those Solheim Cup hats. Two feisty characters, after all, are set to go head-to-head in Spain in the 2023 match after European captain Suzann Pettersen’s opposite number for the United States was unveiled as Stacy Lewis.

“Oh, yes, that’s a great way to describe us,” a laughing Lewis, the 2013 Women’s British Open champion, admitted in a one-to-one interview with The Scotsman following her appointment as Pat Hurst’s successor in the biennial event.

Still taking a jocular tone, she added: “I hope there are no rules issues because I don’t think either of us will back down and we might need somebody to jump in the middle between us.”

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It was no laughing matter, of course, when Pettersen found herself at the centre of a rules rumpus in the 2015 match in Germany after refusing to concede a tiny putt mistakenly picked up by Alison Lee.

Stacy Lewis cradles the Solheim Cup after helping Team USA win the 2015 match at St Leon-Rot Golf Club in Germany. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

The three subsequent clashes, though, have passed without controversy and Lewis is determined that the encounter at Finca Cortesin next September isn’t overshadowed by any shenanigans.

“For the Solheim Cup going forward, we needed to clean up our act a little bit with the rules issues because it takes away from the great golf being played and that’s the worst part about it,” she said. “I know the media love all the drama, but we are going to try and keep it to a minimum.”

At 38 when the match comes around, Lewis will be the youngest US captain and second youngest in the event’s history after Catrin Nilsmark, who was 36 when she led Europe in 2003.

“I feel like the team needs me right now,” she declared, referring, of course, to the US having lost the last two matches to teams captained on both occasions by Catriona Matthew.

Stacy Lewis, who was an assistant captain in the match, with her daughter Chesnee during the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

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Lewis, a four-time player in the event, ended up as an unofficial assistant captain at Gleneagles in 2019 instead of being on Juli Inkster’s team due to a back injury. She then filled the same role in an official capacity in Toledo last year after failing to make Hurst’s side.

“Not being able to play in Scotland was really, really hard,” admitted Lewis, a former world No 1 and 13-time LPGA Tour winner.

“But, truthfully, not getting picked for Toledo was worse than Scotland. I kind of had it in my head that I would play one more and Toledo would be it and then I’d go on to be an assistant then do a captaincy.

“It didn’t necessarily go to that script, but I’m a great believer that everything happens for a reason. And there’s reasons I got the experiences I did being an assistant and in Toledo and I had an absolute blast.”

A friend who was her cart driver for the week at Inverness Club reckoned she’d seen a side of Lewis she’d never witnessed before at an event. “It was because I was able to enjoy it so much and I want to convey that to the players,” added the new US captain.

“I want them to have that experience of enjoying it while they are still playing. I don’t want them to do what I did and put so much pressure on themselves that they forgot what the Solheim Cup is about.”

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