Koch looks for positive aspects of gimmegate

LONDON • Europe's captain Carin Koch is still unhappy about the incident that marred the final day of the Solheim Cup in September and the Swede said on Tuesday she might handle "gimmegate" differently if she had the chance again.

Tempers at the biennial team event, the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup, flared as then-world No. 8 Suzann Pettersen of Norway refused to concede a 16-inch putt to Alison Lee and the American picked her ball up on the 17th green.

That left the referee no option but to award the hole to Pettersen and morning fourballs partner Charley Hull, leading to victory for the pair against Lee and Brittany Lincicome and accusations of a lack of sportsmanship by the European team.

"It's easy to say now going back," Koch told Sky Sports, referring to a question about how she could have handled the incident better.

"It just happened so fast.

"If there was any chance to slow it down a bit, discuss what happened, if that could have been possible, that probably would have been the one thing.

"I'm sad that it overshadowed the great moments we had and the great golf we played. That has been overshadowed by one putt on Sunday morning," she added.

"The only thing we could do is give them the last hole. I did say to Suzann that was an option but she didn't want to, so I just really had to back my No. 1 player at that stage."

Koch said "gimmegate" - as the incident was later described by the BBC - was all the incentive the Americans needed to stage a remarkable comeback from 6-10 down to snatch victory by 141/2 points to 131/2.

"I was in a taxi in London a few weeks ago and the driver saw my golf clubs and the Solheim Cup logo on my travel bag and he started asking me if I saw what happened," the Swede explained. "I said to him that I was sort of there. But I'm not sure he would have heard about it otherwise, any media (coverage) is positive I guess."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'Koch looks for positive aspects of gimmegate'. Print Edition | Subscribe