TOLEDO, Ohio – Madelene Sagstrom’s jaw was shaking. She was struggling to stay calm while discussing a controversial rules decision that ultimately proved the difference – at least in terms of scoring – in her team’s four-ball loss in the afternoon.
It was no less moving for the victors.
Nelly Korda, trying to explain her side of events, cried as she addressed a small group of media. She stepped away from the microphone, tears in her eyes and shaking.
“We didn’t want it to be that way,” Korda said.
The incident in question – which prompted many questions – occurred on the 13the hole of the match Korda-Ally Ewing against Sagstrom and Nanna Koerstz Madsen.
The game was tied when Korda narrowly missed her eagle putt on the par 5. Korda fell to her knees in disbelief as the ball nestled on her lip. Or maybe a little after the hole. Sagstrom was convinced the ball had no chance of falling and quickly picked it up and sent it back to Korda.
The time since Korda’s ball came to rest and Sagstrom picked it up was 5, maybe 6 seconds. But not 10.
According to Korda and Ewing, the two were approached as they stepped off the 13th green by Course Rules Manager Missy Jones, who told them rules officials overseeing the broadcast were looking into the matter. And upon closer examination, several rulers determined that the ball was close enough to the edge of the hole that, under rule 13.3a of the Rules of Golf, Korda should have had 10 seconds to approach the ball and see if she could get in. .
“It was picked up so quickly,” Korda said. “I fell to my knees and my ball was already in my hands. Honestly, I couldn’t even see it.”
Because Sagstrom was deemed to have broken Rule 13.3a, Rule 13.3b came into play: Korda’s putt was declared made, an eagle-3. It won the hole and gave the Americans a 1-up lead, the same advantage they kept for the rest of the game.
Although Sagstrom, Koerstz Madsen and even European captain Catriona Matthew made their case, the Euros were informed on the 14th.e tee of the final decision.
“It was a pretty blurry image that we were shown, and I would have said it was inclusive,” Matthew said after the end of day one.
“I mean, one hundred percent Madelene didn’t think, for example, that that ball had a chance to go down the hole when she picked it up, and I honestly don’t believe that Nelly or Ally thought really she was going to come in either. “
Rules are rules and decisions are final. But the effects have persisted.
“It rocked both teams,” Ewing admitted.
Match score for the Solheim Cup
The US and European teams said the last five holes were “awkward” at best. What was once a ‘comfortable’ and ‘chatty’ match – maybe too much comfortable, as they were put on the clock on the 10th hole – mostly went silent the rest of the way. Except for some attendees, including Sagstrom said they heard comments about the incident.
“It was more just to give me a little bit of stuff doing that, to pick up the ball and stuff,” Sagstrom said as his eyes started to race. “It’s already tough on American soil with all the fans not really cheering you on, and when you hear you’re even more wrong, it’s tough.”
Sagstrom and Korda were both adamant that they had done nothing wrong. Not in a challenge lane, but in defense. Sagstrom wanted it to be known that there was no doubt in his mind that the bullet was dead and had no chance of leaving its final resting place. She wanted people to know that there was no game involved.
“Obviously I didn’t follow the rules about leaving the ball for 10 seconds, but I believe in the integrity and honor of the game of golf, and I would never hit a putt that had a chance to enter. “Sagstrom said, noting that both teams were made aware of this rule before the start of the game.
“Personally, I don’t agree with the decision with the ball on the edge, but I didn’t follow the 10 second rule so it sucks right now because I feel like I have let down my team. “
Korda wanted it to be known that neither she nor Ewing had anything to do with the decision. They were approached by Jones. Neither they – nor their shopping carts, which had been speculated – initially raised a possible infringement. And while they might not have believed the ball was going to fall, they can’t overrule a rules decision.
“I walked off the green, and we were sort of talking, and Missy already came over to us and was like, I call him, I want to check. Honestly, we didn’t even have a say, ”Korda said.
“With a bit of luck [Sagstrom and Koerstz Madsen] agree with us.
Truth be told, neither of them “really wanted this to be known.” They both would have preferred to comfort and heal among their teammates rather than discuss open injuries with the media. But, as is not always the case in the world of sport, they answered the questions, answering each one of them, with multiple television channels and with the written press.
If there is any comfort for Sagstrom, it is that his team has a 5½ – 2½ lead at the start of Day 2. If there is any comfort for both, it is that he There is a Day 2, giving each of them – all four, including their Saturday afternoon partners – a chance to write a different story.
“At the end of the day,” Korda said, “I hope we can put this aside and move on.”