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Originally published September 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 17, 2007 at 2:05 AM

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Solheim Cup | Pepper's insult spices up U.S. win

The Americans were hardly chokers when the stakes were highest at the Solheim Cup. Doggone good was more the case. Dominating the singles matches...

The Associated Press

HALMSTAD, Sweden — The Americans were hardly chokers when the stakes were highest at the Solheim Cup.

Doggone good was more the case.

Dominating the singles matches as they typically have, the Americans celebrated one of the most coveted wins in women's golf Sunday, a 16-12 decision over Europe that ended any thought they might be the "chokin' freakin' dogs" that TV analyst Dottie Pepper said they were.

Led by Morgan Pressel's 2-and-1 upset of Annika Sorenstam and Stacy Prammanasudh's surprising 2-up win over Suzann Pettersen, the United States went 8-3-1 in singles. They captured the Solheim on foreign soil for the second time.

"I was pretty excited when we won it in my rookie year," Paula Creamer said of the 2005 win at Crooked Stick in Indiana. "I'm even more excited now."

The Americans did it in rain and wind and cold, the kind of week in which love of the game — what the Solheim Cup is supposed to be about — is perhaps the only thing that could get someone out on the course.

And they did it with a bit of a chip on their shoulders, placed there by Pepper — a former American player and firebrand who is an analyst on the Golf Channel.

On Saturday, after the United States turned a couple of looming wins into disappointing ties, Pepper called the Americans "chokin' freakin' dogs." It was a comment Pepper made when she thought she was off the air, but wasn't.

"It was hurtful, very, very hurtful to all of us on the team," assistant captain Beth Daniel said. "Dottie's been there. She knows what it's like. Even if she said it off the air, it was ill-spirited."

Back on the air Sunday, Pepper said she stood by the comment.

Some of the Americans insisted they had let the whole thing go by the time they went to bed Saturday night and were concentrating on winning.

Because of the brutal weather, fourball matches needed to be finished early Sunday. The Europeans went into the final round with an 8 ½-7 ½ lead.

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When the singles matches rolled around, the Americans took control quickly.

"I thought we had a lot of talent on our team but that it would be tough to do it over here, if you go by history," American captain Betsy King said.

"I thought we were going to do it, but I didn't want to say that before we did it. So now I'm saying it."

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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