Solheim Cup 2013: Controversial Ruling Hurts USA's Chances

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIAugust 17, 2013

PARKER, CO - AUGUST 16:  (L-R) Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson of the United States Team prepare to putt on the 18th hole as they were defeated by one hole by Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Carlota Ciganda of Spain and the European Team during the afternoon four-ball matches at the 2013 Solheim Cup on August 16, 2013 at the Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Solheim Cup featured a little bit of controversy during the Friday fourballs, and that controversy is what could hurt the USA's chances at defeating Europe.

Europe took a 6.5 to 5.5 lead over USA after Saturday's morning matches.  The United States team was able to gain some ground over Europe, however, taking the morning 2.5 to 1.5 thanks to wins by the parings of Stacy Lewis with Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie with Brittany Lang.

Unfortunately for USA, that one-point deficit had a chance to be erased if it wasn't for a ruling in the fifth match of the tournament.

Lewis and Lexi Thompson for USA were going up against Suzann Pettersen and Carlota Ciganda during Friday's afternoon matches.  During the match, Ciganda hit into a water hazard, but rather than put the ball back two club lengths from the hazard, she was allowed to go back 40 yards.

After taking a shot 40 yards back, Ciganda was able to get a more favorable positioning, hitting the green and nailing a 15-foot putt that led her and Pettersen to a win on the final green.  

USA captain Meg Mallon said, according to Elspeth Burnside of the Daily Mail, "I'm not happy about it.  The thing I'm most unhappy about is it took 25 minutes and the momentum, which was in our favor, had stopped".

Europe went on to take a 5-3 lead for the day.

The ruling certainly hurts USA's chances at winning.  Both Lewis and Thompson had failed to birdie any of the last nine holes, and they were almost able to at least half the round to make the score 4.5 to 3.5.

Although it would have ended up being just a one-point swing for the teams, that could be a big deal at the end.  The rest of the matches have been very close, and losing just one point would certainly spell trouble for either team.  

Not only does it impact USA directly, there's also a bit of a hit to the confidence of the golfers.  The ruling is obviously frustrating to both Thompson and Lewis, not to mention the whole team.  The team must stay composed in order to keep playing at a high level, but it is certainly hard to do so after a ruling like that, and any frustration could spell disaster for USA.

What's done is done, and USA will need to pick up the pace after Friday's ruling in order to come away as the champions.