It’s an iconic moment that will long live in sports history. Gleneagles, 2019. Suzann Pettersen dropped in an eight-foot putt in the final match of the final day to win the Solheim Cup, then rare back with a primal yell and fist pump to rival even the wildest Tiger Woods celebration. And 30 minutes later, she was done, announcing her immediate retirement on live television in a career-end for the ages.
"So that's it," she said at Gleneagles. "That's me and the Solheim Cup forever. A chapter to close."
Two years later and Pettersen’s playing chapter at the Solheim Cup is still closed. But a new chapter begins this week at Inverness Club, as the 40-year-old Norwegian star takes her place at Captain Catriona Matthew’s side as one of the three Vice Captains for Team Europe.
“I'm happy to be back. It's a little bit weird walking by the driving range the first time and not having to pull out your clubs, but I'm actually really enjoying it,” said Pettersen on Wednesday at Inverness. “I think all four of us have gotten to know each other over the last four years, so to say, and, yeah, just happy to see everyone here.”
Pettersen’s Vice Captain career was due to start in 2019, when she was named to Matthew’s squad after a difficult pregnancy and extended maternity leave with her son Herman. After a few tentative steps back onto the course, Pettersen was called up to the playing crew in what was considered a risky captain’s pick. Matthew saw a need on a rookie-heavy team for some veteran leadership, not dreaming how the week would end for Team Europe.
Little Herman is now three years old and Pettersen has another stroller with her this week, having given birth to a daughter in May 2021. She still has the same flinty look in her eyes and goodness knows that the player instinct will never quite go away. But Pettersen is still happy to sit back and enjoy what her career has brought her.
“I really haven't played much golf since two years ago. I've really got my hands full and having a second child hasn't given me any more time,” said Pettersen, who has returned full-time life in Norway. “I do miss it, but at the same time, I'm really enjoying a different part of life. And, yeah, just enjoying motherhood, to be honest.”