Suzann Pettersen out of Solheim Cup, Matthew drafted in by Europe

Europe's Solheim Cup team has received a huge blow two days before the event, with veteran Suzann Pettersen pulling out due to a back injury.

Two-time major champion Pettersen has appeared in eight Solheim Cups but confirmed on Wednesday that she will be unable to represent Europe in Iowa.

The Norwegian was involved in a huge controversy at the last staging of the event in 2015, when the United States' Alison Lee picked up a short putt in the belief it had been conceded, only for Pettersen to claim a point. 

Initially unrepentant for her actions, Pettersen subsequently apologised for "not thinking about the bigger picture in the heat of the battle and competition."

In a statement announcing her withdrawal from this week's event, which begins on Friday, Pettersen wrote: "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."

European captain Annika Sorenstam has called up another vastly experienced player, Scotland's Catriona Matthew, as Pettersen's replacement.

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."

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