UPDATE: Suzann Pettersen withdrew from the Solheim Cup on Wednesday, citing a slipped disc injury suffered over the weekend.
Now that the Solheim Cup has returned to American soil, the U.S. squad has much to be excited about: record-breaking crowds, home-field advantage and, of course, a trophy to defend. But captain Juli Inkster is worried that American fans will single out Europe's Suzann Pettersen because of the controversy surrounding her at the 2015 Solheim Cup in Germany.
"If anybody can handle it, it's Suzann. But I hope they don't heckle her. I hope they respect her and respect her play. It was two years ago, we've moved on and I'm sure she's moved on too," Inkster said.
Pettersen came under scrutiny because she refused to concede a putt that Alison Lee picked up (Lee claimed she heard someone say it was good) and eventually apologized for the distraction. Pettersen's 2015 partner Charley Hull said that she would be more motivated to win if Americans in Des Moines booed her.
Inkster wouldn't say that she believed that Pettersen was innocent of any wrongdoing, although she insisted that the scandal was behind them all.
"If you watched it, there's not one person that's standing there staring at Alison, like, 'Mark it.' Everybody's walking off the green and it was a good, I want to say, three seconds, three to four seconds before Alison really went over and picked the ball up," Inkster said. "It wasn't like she hit the putt and went and picked it up. She was, like: 'Oh, I can't believe I missed that ball' and then walked around and then she picked it up. So it’s 2015. I don’t know why we're talking about it."
The event begins Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, and finishes on Sunday.