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- Norwegian golfer
Having sunk the winning putt two years ago, Suzann Pettersen is ready to call on all her Solheim Cup-winning experience after being named Team Europe captain for the 2023 edition, writes Milly McEvoy.
The Norwegian golfer was front and centre as Europe pulled off a last-gasp victory at Gleneagles in 2019 before acting as a vice-captain as they defended their title in September.
Now, the four-time winner will lead the side in her beloved competition as the Cup takes place in Spain for the first time.
“If I look back at my journey through the Solheim Cup, I've had my highest highs, probably the deepest lows, you win the match, you lose the match, a lot of emotions goes into it, but at the end of the day, you sit back with memories for life,” the 40-year-old said.
“To see the bond with players that you maybe normally wouldn't have had a chance to get that close to.
“Looking back at it, I don't think you look at it as the winning putt or the defining shot, but it's more of the journey that you've had, together with the rest of your teammates that I look back at as the most valuable memories from my career.
— Solheim Cup Team Europe (@SolheimCupEuro) November 29, 2021
“I think that just proves how special Solheim is and it's fun when you get to play and perform at the biggest stage.”
The former World No.2 returned as a player one last time for the 2019 win having taken 19 months out following the birth of her first child.
She will take over the captaincy from Catriona Matthew, who guided Europe to back-to-back victories.
Pettersen will look to continue the Scot's legacy as Europe search for a third win in a row at Los Naranjos Golf Club, something they have never done before.
She added: “She's [Matthew] definitely going to be on my speed dial over the next two years!
“But most importantly, what's been fun with the two of us is we've had the same journey. We've literally played all the Solheims together.
“We've had a very similar Solheim journey, which has obviously created a great friendship. She's one that I really feel comfortable picking up the phone and asking for general advice.
“I'm very thankful for having been a part of her journey as a captain and learning from her and how she led the team in the best possible way.”
Europe claimed the 2021 Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio in September of this year with England’s Charley Hull, Georgia Hall and Mel Reid making up the British contingent in a 15-13 victory.
“We already have some veterans coming out of the UK so we have Georgia, Charley, and Mel but then we also have Laura [Davies, vice-captain] as part of the team, which I think is very important,” joint top-scorer in the 2003 edition Pettersen said.
🇪🇺 EUROPEAN SUPERSTARS 🇪🇺@suzannpettersen for the @2019solheimcup🏆
Incredible scenes, simply incredible. @SolheimCupEuro have won the Solheim Cup. Let the celebrations begin 🙌🏻#TeamEurope pic.twitter.com/Rf4IeaBKct
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) September 15, 2019
“She is an icon in the women's game and you have so many important great characters through the history of the Solheim coming out of the UK.
“I think also looking at the youngsters coming through on the Ladies European Tour, it's going to be exciting to watch and see how these players are doing over the next two years. Not only just see, but also getting to know these players.”
As the player with the responsibility of making the winning putt in 2019, Pettersen is prepared to take on the mammoth challenge of three in a row.
She said: “I can only roll up my sleeves and start doing the work but it's a massive challenge. She [Catriona] couldn't have given me a bigger challenge but I know we have a fantastic team and I know as a team we're going to do everything in our power and play with our heart and soul.”