Solheim Cup: Thompson says "we're playing as fast as we can" after more slow play criticism


Lexi Thompson responds to a second day of slow play criticism at the Solheim Cup: 'We're playing as fast as we can' 

For the second day in a row the pace of play was a big topic of discussion at the Solheim Cup as players battled incredibly tough conditions on Saturday at Gleneagles, overshadowing yet another day of spectacular golf and record-tying wins.

U.S Captain Julie Inkster had called the contest 'painfully slow' and admitted she didn't 'know what to do' after players faced heavy criticism on the opening day, while European Captain Catriona Matthew said that the officials are the ones who need to take responsibility.

"It's the officials really," she'd said. "They're the ones who police the pace of play, so it's really up to them, I think.”

USA fight back to tie Solheim Cup heading in to singles
• Solheim Cup: Sunday singles pairings/ Tee Times

But if many thought the criticism would force the players to speed up they were left disappointed as the conditions worsened to what Georgia Hall at one point described as a four club wind. 

"The weather is horrendous," Hall said of the wind, rain and cold. "One hole we almost fell off the tee. We could hardly stand up. It was tough."

"What you saw out there, brutal," agreed Lexi Thompson. "Definitely the toughest I think I've played in.

The result of the tougher conditions was that despite every group being put on the clock, it took even longer to complete the second day of play than the first.

Once again it was the second session, the afternoon fourballs, which highlighted the issue, taking the first American group of Brittany Altomare and just a few minutes shy of six hours to complete a 1UP victory over Anne van Dam and Suzann Pettersen.

The next two matches that followed both went to the 18th and finished around the six hour mark: The match was halved between Jodi Ewart and Carlota Ciganda against Lexi Thompson and Marina Alex, and it was soon followed by a triumph for Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier as they claimed the only full point of the afternoon for Europe with a 2UP win against Angel Yin and Ally McDonald. 

The final group of the day included Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas, who was the only player given a bad time on Friday, and European pair Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz. They lost ground on the group ahead, and while all groups were put on the clock, Ciganda and Salas were the two players given bad times on Saturday.

Afterwards, World No.3 Lexi Thompson was questioned about the slow pace of play, and conceded that while everyone is aware of it, they were fighting for their country in turbulent weather conditions, and doing it as fast as they could.

“We're aware of it because we were on the clock and warned," said Thompson. "But it's tough to hear because it's playing so difficult and I don't think a lot of people realise that we're playing for our country and we're playing in these kind of conditions, so we're playing as fast as we can. 

“We don't want to be out there for six hours either. But we have a lot on the line and we want to hit the best shot that we possibly can.”

Thompson's playing partner, Alex, added that the while she doesn't like slow play, it was hard to speed up when there is so much on the line.

“I don't like slow play at all," said Alex, while Thompson added "none of us do." 

"And I wouldn't consider myself a slow player in general, probably like medium paced. But out there, you know, there's just so many things going on. I mean gusting winds and raining. Every shot matters so much. 

“If you're not fully committed to what it is you're doing, you're going to hit a poor golf shot, and you can't really afford that. So, I'm sorry for people who are watching who maybe felt like the pace of play was a little slow. It was really difficult.”