Captains keen to avoid Solheim drama

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Ryder Cup captains Davis Love and Darren Clarke want to avoid the kind of controversy that dogged the recent Solheim Cup.

The final day of the Solheim event in Germany – the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup – was marred by an incident on the 17th green of the fourballs match involving US rookie Alison Lee and Europe's Suzann Pettersen.

Lee picked up her ball mistakenly believing a putt had been conceded. Pettersen objected, an argument ensued, and the hole was awarded to Europe, who went on to win that match – though not the Cup itself.

Lee broke down in tears after the match and the row dominated the headlines after the tournament, with the Europeans being accused of a lack of sportsmanship. 

Clarke is hopeful next year's Ryder Cup will not see a repeat of such events.

"This Ryder Cup will be played in the manner that Davis and I respect each other," the Northern Irishman said at a press conference in Minnesota on Wednesday to mark the start of the one-year countdown to the 2016 Ryder Cup.

"I hold Davis in the highest regard. He is a good friend and is probably the best gentleman in our sport.

"The Solheim Cup was an unfortunate thing. What Suzann did was correct in the rules of golf, but in the spirit of the game, was wrong. She admitted that on Monday, with hindsight. Hindsight always is a wonderful thing."

Clarke also hinted that he believed Lee was also in the wrong for her part in the incident.

"In the Ryder Cup, we are always briefed by the referees early in the week, the rules officials, and we do not touch a golf ball until we hear either from our opposite numbers or from the referees.

"So I hope and I'm sure it won't happen under our watch."

US captain Love added: "I'm sure Darren and I will set the tone with our teams and with our messaging over the next year as to what we expect and how we expect the matches to be played.

"Something will come up during the three days that is uncomfortable. But we'll handle it as gentlemen and a sportsmanlike way. It will be fair and competitive and fun.

"In the end, one of us will win, one of us will lose, but we'll enjoy a cigar and a tear afterwards on Sunday night.

"What happened at the Solheim Cup was an unfortunate incident and I think we've learned a lot from it."