This story first appeared in the October 16, 2000, issue of Sports Illustrated.
There was a moment on Sunday afternoon at the Solheim Cup — as the scoreboard was bleeding the red of the U.S.A. and the British press was calling for the heads of more Ugly Americans — when another international golf event seemed on the verge of disintegrating into pure melodrama. It had already been a week in which tears outnumbered raindrops, a contentious Cup during which no one was immune to press-conference shrapnel. Now the two teams were at each other’s throats over an incident that had a stench far worse than anything that emanated from last year’s Ryder Cup. So be thankful that Europe won, because a U.S. victory would have been poisonous not only to the health of the Solheim Cup, but also to the spirit of the game. When it was finally over, when a furious Sunday rally by the Americans had been snuffed out, there was a sense that Europe had won far more than an oversized crystal trophy.