• Europe established a four point lead going into Sunday’s singles matches 
  • However, it came in circumstances that were truly shameful in Germany 
  • Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was the villainess of the piece on Sunday
  • Charley Hull was in floods of tears, let alone the disappointed opposition

Derek Lawrenson for MailOnline

Amidst unprecedented scenes of rancour and uproar that will forever tarnish the 14th Solheim Cup, Europe established a four point lead going into Sunday’s singles matches but in circumstances that were truly shameful.

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was the villainess of the piece on Sunday morning, perpetrating an act that went so far beyond the bounds of sportsmanship it left her English team mate Charley Hull in tears, let alone the opposition.

The Americans were outraged, and no-one could blame them. They gathered in the middle of the 18th fairway to vent their feelings. ‘Class! Style! USA!’ they chanted.

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Charley Hull is left in tears following the controversy on the 17th hole at the 14th Solheim Cup in Germany 

Charley Hull is left in tears following the controversy on the 17th hole at the 14th Solheim Cup in Germany 

Europe's Hull does her best to hide her emotions following the shameful scenes during the action 

Europe’s Hull does her best to hide her emotions following the shameful scenes during the action 

Lee struggles to hide her emotions as the situation at the 14th Solheim Cup gets the better of her in Germany

Lee struggles to hide her emotions as the situation at the 14th Solheim Cup gets the better of her in Germany

Lee is comforted by Pat Hurst shortly after she was told her short putt had not been conceded in St Leon-Rot

Lee is comforted by Pat Hurst shortly after she was told her short putt had not been conceded in St Leon-Rot

It all centred around the 17th green of a fourballs match held over from Saturday evening, featuring Hull and Pettersen against Brittany Lincicome and rookie Alison Lee.

Hull had got the ball rolling with a brilliant birdie at the 16th to square the match. At the 17th Lee had a 12ft birdie putt, which rolled no more than 16 inches past the hole. 

By the side of the green Hull started walking, in a gesture that golfers everywhere will recognise as the concession of a small putt. All square down the 18th, we thought, as Lee duly scooped her ball up, but then Pettersen stepped in to say the putt had not been conceded. It meant an immediate loss of the hole for the Americans.

American captain Juli Inkster looked devastated. Quite frankly, anyone who cares about golf was devastated.

And Inkster was outspoken in her criticism of the European team, saying: ‘I have never seen anything like it in my career. It’s just not right. You just don’t do that to your peers. It’s disrespectful.

‘I saw Charley walking off and Suzann kind of turned her back and then Suzann said she did not give it to her (Lee).

Lee sees her shot on the 17th hole roll inches past the hole as her team-mates and opposition watch on

Lee sees her shot on the 17th hole roll inches past the hole as her team-mates and opposition watch on

Lee scooped her ball up in the belief she had concession on putt, but Pettersen said it hadn't been conceded

Lee scooped her ball up in the belief she had concession on putt, but Pettersen said it hadn’t been conceded

Pettersen's antics meant it was an immediate loss of the hole for the Americans, much to their annoyance

Pettersen’s antics meant it was an immediate loss of the hole for the Americans, much to their annoyance

Pettersen (left) explains to referee Maselli that she has not conceded the putt as Hull (right) looks on

Pettersen (left) explains to referee Maselli that she has not conceded the putt as Hull (right) looks on

‘It was even anyway, they could have won the 18th hole, we could have halved. It’s just BS [b*******] as far as I’m concerned.

‘I thought it was a great week for women’s golf and to have put a dampener on that, you could never justify that.’

Going down the 18th fairway, Europe captain Carin Koch tried to establish what had happened. Pettersen tried to justify her actions by claiming the putt back was about 3ft, which was laughable. 

America captain Juli Inkster, pictured on Saturday, said Europe had been 'disrespectful' on the 17th hole

America captain Juli Inkster, pictured on Saturday, said Europe had been ‘disrespectful’ on the 17th hole

US team captain Inkster (left) also called the situation 'b*******' as emotion took over the golf course

US team captain Inkster (left) also called the situation ‘b*******’ as emotion took over the golf course

As Koch went into discussion with her assistant captains, you longed for someone to step forward and do the right thing and offer the Americans a halved match. But no act that might have rescued the situation was forthcoming.

On Sky television, former European Solheim Cup captain Mickey Walker couldn’t keep the disgust out of her voice. ‘The Europeans can’t feel good about winning like this. It’s just wrong,’ she said. ‘A terrible injustice has occurred. It’s so sad for women’s golf.’

Her thoughts were echoed by the grand dame of the women’s game Laura Davies, who is a good friend of Pettersen’s but made clear she thought she’d got it completely wrong.

LPGA referee Maselli informs Lee that her putt is not conceded on the 17th green during the Solheim Cup

LPGA referee Maselli informs Lee that her putt is not conceded on the 17th green during the Solheim Cup

Alison Lee gets emotional on the 18th green after her error in picking up her ball  before it had been conceded

Alison Lee gets emotional on the 18th green after her error in picking up her ball before it had been conceded

Suzann Pettersen  in deep discussion with her captain Carin Koch following the unsavoury scenes

Suzann Pettersen in deep discussion with her captain Carin Koch following the unsavoury scenes

Pettersen and Koch discuss what happened on the 17th green on competition of the four-ball matches

Pettersen and Koch discuss what happened on the 17th green on competition of the four-ball matches

GOLF COURSE ETIQUETTE 

Rule 2-4/3 of the Rules of Golf covers the situation that happened in the Solheim Cup match and explains why Pettersen should have told Lee to replace her ball and hole out.

It appears as a hypothetical question and answer and reads:

Q: In a match between A and B, B made a statement which B interpreted to mean that A’s next stroke is conceded. Accordingly, A lifted his ball, B then said that he had not conceded A’s next stroke. What is the ruling?

A: If B’s statement could reasonably have led A to think his next stroke had been conceded, in equity (Rule 1-4) A should replace his ball as near as possible to where it lay, without penality.

In addition, under Rule 2-4, Pettersen also had the option to concede the final hole to ensure a halved match at any point while they walked down the 18 

Asked for her reaction on Sky Sports 4, 12-time Solheim Cup player Davies said: ‘Disgusted. We have got our best player, Charley Hull, who has just won a point and she is in floods of tears. That tells you the wrong thing was done.

‘How Suzann can justify that I will never, ever know. We are all fierce competitors but ultimately it’s unfair. We have to play week in, week out together and you do not do something like that to a fellow pro.

‘Poor old Alison Lee must think ‘I hope I never play a Solheim Cup again’. She has had food poisoning and now she has been wronged by one of the most senior players in golf and (who) used to be one of the most respected players.

‘I know (Pettersen) is angry and justifying everything, but she has let herself down and she has certainly let her team down. I am so glad I am not on that team this time.

‘If they win they are going to think ‘Why did we do that?’ or ‘why did Suzann do that?” 

As the furore continued, there were rumours of discussions between the two sides and you hoped sanity would prevail. But, at the time of writing, the lead remained four points to Europe.

American Lee left the 17th hole in tears as the Solheim Cup was shrouded in controversy on Sunday

American Lee left the 17th hole in tears as the Solheim Cup was shrouded in controversy on Sunday

In a huddle, the Americans continued to vent their feelings. ‘If that’s how they want to play it, let’s use this to motivate us,’ said former world number one Stacey Lewis.

It was such a shame, for it had been a truly captivating Solheim Cup to that point. In the other two fourballs matches held over, each side won a point, with the unsung Scot Catriona Matthew making it three points out of three alongside partner Karine Icher.

Hull had moved to four points out of four, but the poor girl left the scene of her latest success visibly upset and now had to get in the right frame of mind for her singles. Mind you, few people were in the right frame of mind for the singles. The whole thing was tainted.

Hull reacts as her birdie putt just misses on the 17th green in her match with Pettersen at St Leon-Rot

Hull reacts as her birdie putt just misses on the 17th green in her match with Pettersen at St Leon-Rot

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