WEST DES MOINES, IA – AUGUST 20: Stacy Lewis of Team USA hits a tee shot on the first hole in her match against Catriona Matthew of Team Europe during the final day singles matches of the Solheim Cup at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club on August 20, 2017, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
By Keely Levins
On Tuesday morning, United States captain Juli Inkster announced that Stacy Lewis would not play for the American Solheim Cup team at Gleneagles. Lewis, chosen by Inkster as a captain’s pick, suffered a back injury a week before the competition. After attempting to manage the injury while travelling to Scotland, Lewis was forced to make the decision to sit out what would have been her fifth Solheim Cup.
“I’m extremely disappointed not to be able to play,” Lewis said in a statement. “I’ve done everything I could possibly do over the last week to be ready to play. For my health and what I feel is in the best interest of the team, I decided to take myself out. I will take a different role with the team and will do whatever I can to help Team USA bring the Cup home.”
When Solheim Cup captains make their captain’s picks, they also choose an alternate. The alternates become known only if someone on the team cannot play. This happened in 2017 when Jessica Korda’s forearm injury forced her to withdraw. She was replaced by Paula Creamer. This year, Inkster’s alternate pick was Ally McDonald. McDonald is on-site in Scotland, and now officially a member of the American team.
“Stacy is one of the fiercest competitors I have ever met,” Inkster said. “I know this was an incredibly tough decision for her, but she also has the team’s best interests at heart. Stacy will stay with Team USA over the next week and will still be an incredible asset to our crew. But when I had to choose an alternate, I knew Ally would be able to step up for the challenge. She’s got a cool head but a fiery spirit. I know she’ll bring her best to Team USA.”
This will be McDonald’s first Solheim Cup appearance. She graduated from Mississippi State in 2015 and was a two-time first-team All-American there. She’s playing her fourth season on the LPGA Tour in 2019. McDonald’s most notable finishes this season were her T-6 in the ANA Inspiration, T-10 at the U.S. Women’s Open and a third-place finish at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
“I didn’t want to make the team this way, but when Juli told me what was going on with Stacy, I was ready to step into either role, if that was being here and being part of the experience or being ready to tee it up,” McDonald said. “It was just mentally preparing for either scenario. I’m obviously very excited to play. This was a goal of mine to play on this team.”