Lothians golfer Catriona Matthew has replaced the injured Suzann Pettersen in the European team for this weekend’s Solheim Cup.
Europe’s bid to regain the cup suffered a major blow after Norwegian Pettersen was forced to withdraw due to a back complaint.
Pettersen had been receiving treatment since arriving in Des Moines, Iowa, for the biennial contest against the United States.
However, the 36-year-old was still suffering persistent pain from a slipped disc on Wednesday and had little option but to pull out of Annika Sorenstam’s side.
That has opened the door for North Berwick golfer Matthew, assistant captain to Sorenstam and a eight-time Solheim veteran, to take her place in Europe’s team. Sorenstam nominated the 47-year-old as her alternate when she selected her four wild cards after the Ricoh Women’s British Open earlier this month.
Sorenstam said: “It’s unfortunate that Suzann has to withdraw due to her back injury. The Solheim Cup has been such an important part of her career. It was a very tough decision, but I am proud of her and she will still be a leader this week.
“Catriona is a proven Solheim Cup performer who will be able to step right in and play with anybody. She’s ready to go.”
Pettersen said: “I have made this extremely difficult decision to help the European team and give my team-mates the best possible chance of success.
“There was no guarantee that I would be fit to compete on Friday morning and I did not want to play unless I was able to give 100 per cent.
“I truly love the Solheim Cup and I will stay and support my team this week in whatever way I can.”