The USA's preparations for this week's Solheim Cup have been thrown a curveball with news that Stacy Lewis has been forced to withdraw from the team through injury.
Lewis, 34, was one of Juli Inkster's captain's picks for the match at Gleneagles but will play no part after succumbing to a back injury.
She has been replaced in the team by 26-year-old rookie Ally McDonald.
A veteran of the four Solheim Cups, a tearful Lewis was pictured being comforted by Inkster after struggling in practice yesterday. It was subsequently confirmed this morning that the two-time major champion won't feature this week after all.
“Stacy is one of the fiercest competitors I have ever met," said Inkster. "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.”
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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 narrowly missed out on qualifying for the team after posting 15 top-20 finishes during the qualifying period.
“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,” she 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."