Team USA have been forced into a late change to their Solheim Cup team after Stacy Lewis was ruled out with a back injury.
Lewis, who was one of Juli Inkster’s captain’s picks for the contest at Gleneagles, has been replaced by Ally McDonald after aggravating her back problem during practice on Monday afternoon.
The 34-year-old had been having treatment for the injury after it flared up during the Cambia Portland Classic two weeks ago and, although she was passed fit to take her place on the team, the ailment returned on the opening day of practice.
Lewis, who was set to make her fifth Solheim Cup appearance, was seen in tears while being consoled by Inkster and several of her team-mates, and she will stay at Gleneagles to support her team from the sidelines.
Stacy is one of the fiercest competitors I have ever met. I know this was an incredibly tough decision for her, but she also has the team’s best interests at heart, said Inkster.
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.
An emotional Lewis added: I’m extremely disappointed not to be able to play. I’m a competitor and I want to play, but I had a back injury flare up last week. 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.
McDonald had been on standby at Gleneagles as the first alternate, and she will now become the sixth Solheim Cup rookie on the visiting team.
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, said McDonald.
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.
The late change is similar to that of Europe in the last contest two years ago, when vice-captain Catriona Matthew had to step in as a player when Suzann Pettersen was ruled out with a back problem.
(c) Sky Sports 2019: Solheim Cup: Stacy Lewis ruled out with back injury and replaced by Ally McDonald