Suzann Pettersen - 'Never In My Wildest Dreams Did I think I Would Be A Captain'

We chat to Europe's 2023 Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen ahead of next year's match in Spain...

Suzann Pettersen holds the Solheim Cup trophy
(Image credit: Tristan Jones/Ladies European Tour)

Finca Cortesin in Spain will be the stage for the 2023 Solheim Cup where 2019 hero Suzann Pettersen looks to guide Europe to a third-consecutive victory in the biennial Europe vs USA match.

Ahead of next year's Solheim Cup, we caught up with Pettersen to hear how preparations are going...

How much of an honour is it to be The Solheim Cup captain for Europe?

I’ve loved every second of the Solheim Cup. Everything about it is an adrenaline rush. It’s an extremely big honour to lead the European squad in 2023! This is an even bigger honour than representing Europe as a member of the Solheim Cup team. Playing in the Solheim as a player was a dream from an early age, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be a captain. But that being said, I feel like I am ready to take it on with all of my personal experiences from being both a player and the recent years as a vice-captain.

 How and when were you told and what was your reaction?

I don’t remember exactly where I was when I received the phone call, but it was a good one. I’ve never second guessed my commitment! Drawing from the pool of people who have been a part of the captaincy team has become a tradition of ours in Europe. I caught a little bit of the inside scoop with Annika in 2017 when I couldn’t play because of injury and was asked to be an assistant captain. That gave me a small taste of it. And then, of course (Catriona Matthew) asking me to be part of the captaincy team in 2021 was a huge honour.

Who do you see as the key members of your team?

2023 is still quite a long way away, but I hope to have some of the experienced players with some Solheim Cup history on the team. There are also a lot of new young talented players that can make the team; just look how well Leona Maguire did last time! It’s fun to watch. I’m a little surprised, though, by this recent generation. They don’t seem to have nerves at all. They show up for the first time like they’ve been there before. It’s amazing really. I was still nervous at my last one. I eventually got the crowd behind me, which helped me manage the pressure. But you have to find your own way.

Are you hoping to have some Spaniards on your team for the home crowds?

Of course it would be great fun to have some Spanish girls walking the fairways at Finca Cortesin. I will travel a little bit more next year to see who the in-form players are. Of course I have played with Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz, and know them well, but it’s important to establish connections with the young players on tour as well.

Finca Cortesin golf course general view

(Image credit: Finca Cortesin)

Do you think there’s any edge to Europe in terms of the golf course and course set up?

From a golf course perspective, I think both teams will be as prepared and ready to do their best, but playing at home is always an advantage, sometimes we would say it’s like having the 15th club in the bag. The golf course is great. I think it will be a fantastic match play golf course and the facilities at Finca Cortesin are absolutely top-notch. It’s going to be a Solheim Cup with a Spanish vibe. I can’t wait to show the players the venue and have them get to know the place.

Catriona Matthew was a sensational captain – what have you picked up from her?

I think Beany did a great job as a captain. She was as easy going as she always is, but very much prepared and on point. I think the players liked her calm demeanour! Each captain brings their own flavour to the table. I feel like I had a thorough journey with Beany, but I’m trying to take all the best things that I saw and learned from each of the captains and then add my own spices. I think the captain’s most important job is to lay out the land for the players. The captain creates the atmosphere and creates the flavour for the team.

Can you believe how you performed in 2019 given you were away from the game for so long before?

By the time the actual tournament week was there in 2019, no matter how tough it was, I felt the game was where it needed to be. I remember when I stood on the range that Monday the week of, I felt like I had never been away! I was ready! 

Suzann Pettersen celebrates holing a putt

Pettersen holed the winning putt at Gleneagles in 2019

(Image credit: Tristan Jones/Ladies European Tour)

How well do you know your counterpart, Stacy Lewis?

I’ve played a lot with Stacy through the course of my career. In many ways you can say we’ve had a similar journey! Almost the same age, won our fair share, majors included, and both had kids! I respect Stacy in every possible way. She been a great competitor and I am sure she will enjoy this next chapter as much as I will.

Can you tell us about your plans for the build up to the event? How does the next year or so pan out?

The planning has already started. I think my most important job is to be out and get to know the girls I don’t already know who can potentially make the team. It’s important to get to know these girls and find out what you can do for them and how you can help them. I will be doing more of that this year and next. The LET gives me great support and help to manage the other duties.

How much of a boost to The Solheim Cup team is the resurgence of the Ladies European Tour?

It’s definitely good for women’s golf. I’ve always believed you stand stronger together! For the LPGA and LET to work together will help grow the women’s game in Europe.

Golf Monthly was speaking exclusively to Suzann Pettersen on behalf of 2023 Solheim Cup host venue, Finca Cortesín. Contested from the 18-24 September 2023, Finca Cortesín will welcome the two teams to compete in the biennial golf event that is revered as one of the most ferocious rivalries in golf. Find out how you can experience Finca Cortesín here (opens in new tab).

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x