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US wildcards, a reminder of Loch Lomond

Patty Sheehan , captain of the United States Solheim Cup team, will have caused little controversy at home with her choice of Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst as her two wild cards for the match against Europe at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota later this month, but there was a frisson on this side of the Atlantic.

Robbins and Hurst were the players involved in the “play-it-again-Annika” controversy when the Solheim Cup was last staged, at Loch Lomond, two years ago.

Then, Annika Sorenstam, who had chipped in during the four-balls, was asked to replay the shot because she had played out of turn. Sorenstam and her Europe partner, Janice Moodie, went on to lose the match and the incident soured relations between the teams.

“I’ll make sure all my players know their matchplay rules,” Dale Reid, the Europe captain, said yesterday.

Old wounds apart, the choice of Robbins and Hurst could not be argued with. They have both won major championships and are battle-hardened veterans with six Solheim Cup matches between them.

The US team features five players making their debut: Laura Diaz, Cristie Kerr, Wendy Ward, Kelly Kuehne and Emilee Klein, who secured her place by finishing in a tie for fourth place at the State Farm Classic, won by Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, of France, on Sunday.

The other automatic qualifiers were Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Michele Redman, Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel. Dorothy Delasin was named as travelling reserve.

There is no Dottie Pepper, the US talisman of the first six Solheim Cups, who has missed most of the season because of shoulder surgery.


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