Carin Koch on 'Gimmegate' criticism and Europe’s team spirit
It was an unforgettable week in Germany and I’m going to start with the positives, of which there were plenty.
Being the Solheim captain is an honour and it was such a privilege to spend a week with my team, vice-captains and all the helpers.
I have loved spending the last two years helping to promote the event but there is nothing like being with the team, watching them perform at such a high level for three days and sharing all the fun moments.
The less fun part is watching your side lose but the Americans were incredible in the singles and their scoring was phenomenal. So well played Juli and the USA team and thank you to everyone involved with Team Europe for all your incredible efforts.
One of the moments that I’ll always remember is a speech made by Sophie Gustafson on the Saturday night. Sophie has a severe stutter so it was a very spur-of-the moment thing.
When I asked Sophie about being a vice-captain she said she would do everything other than public speaking so it hadn’t even crossed my mind.
Annika Sorenstam, Fanny Sunesson and I had all spoken to the team and I asked Sophie if she would have the final word. I reminded her that everyone in the team room was her friend and Fanny said that she would take over if it was too difficult to get through. And she did great. It was so emotional, everyone in that room had tears in their eyes and it was a special moment for all of us.
There were lots of laughs too. Charley Hull was, again, great to have on the team. She was definitely the player who could cope with playing all five matches. She had been great in practice and she wanted to play all the time.
With all her energy it would almost have been worse to sit her out and she was easy to pair up with as a lot of players were very keen to partner her.
And she can laugh at herself. Early in the week we had a quiz night, which her team lost due to one of their members being penalised for using their mobile! The forfeit was for them to dress in a dirndl outfit and lederhosen, a traditional Bavarian costume, and Charley posted it on Twitter.
The team spirit was a big part of the week. We put a lot of effort into the pairings and we managed to build up a healthy lead.
I feared it would spur the American team on in the singles and that’s obviously what happened” Of course that all changed in the singles and the Americans played incredibly on the final afternoon.
It is easy to say with hindsight that things could have happened differently in the incident over the Alison Lee gimme.
The first thing to say is that it all happened so quickly. If there is anything I could have done differently it would have been to try and slow it down before the players had got to the 18th. It would have been good to have had a discussion and talk it through before playing the last.
When I reached Suzann, I advised her to concede the 18th and halve the match, but she refused. She is my No. 1 player so I had to back her.
I feared it would spur the American team on in the singles and that’s obviously what happened.
I congratulated Juli on the Sunday and at some point I would love to sit down with her along with Pat Hurst and Wendy Ward and talk about things, that would be really nice as they are good friends of mine and I’d like to make sure everything is as it should be between us.
What really saddens me is that this unfortunate incident tarnished the spirit of the match and how the team played, and all the brilliant shots and putts and incredible comebacks, and that is such a shame.
We played some amazing golf and I am so proud of how we played for all three days and this incident shouldn’t overshadow the match. Everybody has had an opinion on what happened and any criticism obviously hurts.
I made the mistake of opening my Twitter account and I was devastated to read some of the messages on there. I know Suzann has had it a million times worse; that’s the power of social media.
And that’s not the way you want the two years to end. I did what I thought was the best thing at the time.
If I was asked to be captain again I would think about it for sure. I loved everything about it even though it was tough being put in the impossible position that I was put in on the Sunday morning.
For now it is nice to get back to catching up on normal life, being a full-time mum and practising my golf!