SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (AP) — Seve Ballesteros knows a thing or two about long odds. So he had some encouraging words for a European team widely viewed as a heavy underdog.
The videotaped message from the Spanish legend, who has battled brain cancer, was this: Hang in there.
“We had the video from Seve,” captain Alison Nicholas said after the morning fourball session. “That was the secret that I didn’t tell anyone. We had a video from him, and some of the stuff he said, just hanging in there and thinking about him and thinking about fighting until the bitter end. I’m just so proud of them at this moment, absolutely awesome.”
Down 4 1/2-3 1/2 when the day began, the Europeans were tied heading into Sunday’s final after withstanding an early barrage by the Americans and then stumbling a bit at the end on Saturday.
Nicholas got the video from Ballesteros about a week and a half ago and showed it to the team on Thursday. Fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, who produced the greatest partnership in Ryder Cup history with an 11-2-2 record, also taped a message for the team.
While Ballesteros offered his support for the players, they are returning the favor by wearing wristbands for his “Seve Ballesteros Foundation” to help cancer patients.
DAVIES BENCHED: Considering she’s played more Solheim Cup matches than anyone, Laura Davies isn’t used to standing off to the side.
Yet, that’s exactly what she’s done the past three rounds.
Davies struggled Friday in the morning fourball and watched that afternoon’s foursome session. The veteran never even made it to the tee on Saturday.
“Very disappointing,” she said.
European captain Alison Nicholas had said she would hold Davies out of the morning round and that’s exactly what happened. The surprise came in the afternoon, when she again was a spectator.
Davies, actually, sensed she wasn’t going to play in the later round so she wasn’t shocked when she saw the lineup. Tough as it was to accept, the fact that Europe pulled into an 8-all tie made it a little easier.
“She’s got a lot of tough decisions to make,” Davies said. “She made the right decisions today.”
A four-time major winner, the 45-year-old Davies is the only player in Solheim Cup history to compete in all 11 events. She had played 41 of 43 possible matches coming into the weekend but had never missed a full day.
Watching, she said, was “torturous” because she couldn’t help out on the course. Not that Davies made a strong case for playing time on Friday in a 5-and-4 loss with Becky Brewerton to Brittany Lang and Brittany Lincicome. She was all over the course and will try to lock in on Sunday, when she goes against Lang.
Sitting Davies wasn’t an easy move for Nicholas, who said, “I’ve been in that position myself. I’ve got to make the decision that I think is best for the team and that’s what I did. It’s a team game.”
NO BIG PAIN: Europe’s Suzann Pettersen, bothered by a hip flexor and back pain, needed medical attention between the seventh and eighth holes and again around the turn during the afternoon round. But Nicholas insisted she was fine.
“It was nothing major,” Nicholas said. “There was nothing major. There was no injury or anything. She was just a bit tired. She just got (the trainer) to come in and stretch her up.”
Pettersen will play her fifth round on Sunday when she meets Paula Creamer.
DIVOTS: Brittany Lang turned 24 on Saturday, and fans at several holes sang her “Happy Birthday.”