The Solheim Cup is one of the biggest events in women’s golf.
This year’s event in Spain was unique. It was challenging to pull off, as it was staged at a course that was built on a mountainside.
On Friday afternoon, Lexi Thompson, who was already a controversial part of the U.S. team since she qualified via a rankings loophole despite a lackluster LPGA season, had a chance to win her Friday afternoon fourball match and give the U.S. an important point.
On the par-5 18th hole, Thompson hit a solid second shot and had a straightforward up-and-down for birdie and a potential point.
But then Ireland’s Leona Maguire holed her chip shot for birdie, making Thompson’s shot much more pressure-packed. Thompson shanked her shot and then had to hole a chip from the bottom of the green to tie the hole. That was nearly impossible and she wasn’t able to hole it.
The U.S. lost that match. The Solheim Cup ended in a 14-14 tie and Europe, as the defending champion, retained the Cup.
Thompson came in afterward with the American contingent and eventually I asked a question about the shot:
“Lexi, could you talk about that third shot on 18? There was some question on what you were trying to do and what you actually did do on the third shot. Could you just go through it for us?”
“I don’t need to comment on that.”
“Excuse me?” I spoke.
“I don’t need to comment on the chip,” she said, staring at me. “It was a bad lie, and I didn’t hit a good chip, but it was pretty much impossible, so …”
Then, a member of the LPGA’s communications staff redirected the interview, but not before U.S. team captain Stacy Lewis delivered a shot across the bow.
“That’s a terrible question,” Lewis said.
From where I was in the room, I couldn’t hear Lewis’s comment and was told about it after the press conference.
Neither Lewis or Thompson came to apologize, not that I expected it or thought it necessary.
Despite that late loss on Friday, Thompson went 3–1 for the week and was one of the bright spots for the U.S. team.
However, numerous players and journalists approached me at the Solheim Cup, and one week later at the Ryder Cup, expressing dismay at the reaction of Thompson and the comment from Lewis.