‘Disappointed’ pro irked by teammates’ unexpected withdrawal from LPGA event

Bronte Law will represent England at the Hanwha Lifeplus International Crown this week.

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If Team England hopes to match or improve on its runner-up finish from the last playing of the Hanwha Lifeplus International Crown — which kicks off Thursday in San Francisco — it will need to do so with a less formidable team than was originally scheduled to play in the eight-country, 32-player event at TPC Harding Park.   

That’s because of a couple of late withdrawals.

England’s four-player squad was supposed to be comprised of Georgia Hall (ranked 10th in the world), Charley Hull (18th), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (49th) and Bronte Law (116th). But on Saturday its two highest-ranked players — Hall and Hull — announced that they were pulling out, with Hall telling Golfweek that she was fighting a running injury in her left foot and Hull telling the publication that she just generally hasn’t been feeling well.

The late withdrawals caught not only tournament organizers by surprise but also Hall and Hull’s teammates.

“Didn’t get any sort of message from the two that decided to not play,” Law said Tuesday from a press conference at Harding Park. “Was disappointed about that. But it’s beside the point now. We’re here, and this is our team, and this is Team England.”

Law said she first learned about her teammates’ decisions on Sunday through “whispers” among her peers.  

“I think anyone with some level of decency would send their teammates a message that they weren’t coming,” Law said. “Not find out from other players on Tour who have heard things from them saying things at the tournament last week. I don’t think that that’s a lot to ask for.”

Law said that Hull did text her on Tuesday apologizing for the late notice.

“But that’s it,” Law said.

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Replacing Hall and Hull are Alice Hewson, 25, and Liz Young, 40, a pair of Ladies European Tour players, who rank 172nd and 216th, respectively, in the world. Hewson has one LET win, from 2020, and five top-20 finishes in ’23. Young won her first LET title in Switzerland last season and has three top-20 finishes this year.

“Very happy to have both Alice and Liz are here,” Law said. “They’re both very patriotic, very team-oriented, and I think that that’s a testament to kind of what this tournament is about and is more important than the individuals in the team.”

Young said she learned that her services would be required in San Francisco via a text message that she received when she woke up at 6 a.m. Sunday. “I read it and I was like really?” she said with a laugh Tuesday. “And then I woke my husband up and said, ‘Read that. What does that say?’ Just to make sure. And then it was, yeah, organizing childcare, flights and getting out here, which is great.”

Hewson said she received a similar text message at 2 a.m. Sunday, and then went into full scramble mode to plan her travel. “Had a bit of nightmare with my flight on Monday at the airport and ended up having to get a slightly later flight than was anticipated,” she said. “Made it here last night [Monday] and cracking on with things really.”

The first three days of the event are a round-robin four-ball format, with the top two countries from each pool advancing. On Sunday, the advancing teams will play a combination of singles and foursomes to determine the winner.

In the first set of pool-play matches, England will square off with Sweden.

“I’m proud to be part of this team with the other three girls on this stage,” Shadoff said.

To which Law added: “And I think every single one of us feels that. It’s more important to have teammates that feel that way and want to be here than anything else, and that’s why having them here is going to be the best thing for Team England this week.”

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at GOLF.com, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.