The Solheim Cup: Another of Golf’s Pageants

Here’s a refreshing event. How often do we have these big announcements about some golf event only to find out that it’s way out in the forgettable future. Well, not this time.

Because of the way the Solheim Cup is structured where the players play right to the last minute in order to qualify for the team, the show kicks off not this weekend, but the weekend after next, August 16, 17, and 18.

It will be played at the Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado, a southeast suburb of Denver. Treat yourself and go to their website right now, for no other reason than to salivate over the luscious photos of this place. How did that come about? Because it was designed by the famous design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw who apparently have never seen a piece of land that they couldn’t get to reveal where eighteen natural holes — not natural-looking, but natural holes — should be situated. 

The American Team was put together off of the U.S. Solheim Cup Points List. The top eight players come off of that list and include:

  1. Stacy Lewis
  2. Paula Creamer
  3. Christie Kerr
  4. Angela Stanford
  5. Brittany Lincicome
  6. Lexi Thompson (Rookie)
  7. Jessica Korda (Rookie)
  8. Brittany Lang

The next two players are the highest ranked players on the Rolex World Rankings who are not in the Top-8 points list.

  1. Lizette Salas (Rookie and No. 19 in the world)
  2. Morgan Pressel (No. 41 in the world)

And finally, Captain Meg Mallon gets two captain’s picks:

  1. Michelle Wie
  2. Gerina Piller (Rookie)

The European Tour has a slightly different selection process for their qualifications. It begins with the top-4 players on the European Solheim Cup standings:

  1. Suzann Pettersen (Norway)
  2. Carlota Ciganda (Spain)
  3. Catriona Matthew (Scotland)
  4. Caroline Masson (Germany)

The next players are the top-4 players on the Rolex World Rankings not in the top-4 on the points list:

  1. Beatriz Recari (Spain and No. 20)
  2. Anna Nordqvist (Sweden and No. 22)
  3. Karine Icher (France and No. 24)
  4. Azahara Munoz (Spain and No. 27)

And the final four players are selected by Captain Liselotte Neumann:

  1. Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England)
  2. Caroline Hedwall (Sweden)
  3. Giulia Sergas (Italy)
  4. Charley Hull (England)

The format is the same as the Ryder Cup:

  • Friday: 4 Foursomes (Alternate Shot) Matches in the morning followed by 4 Four-ball (Best Ball) Matches in the afternoon
  • Saturday: The same as Friday
  • Sunday: 12 Singles Matches

Europe is the defending champion having beaten the U.S. 15-13 at Killeen Castle, Co. Meath, Ireland, two years ago.

Since the Solheim Cup’s inception in 1990, the U.S. holds an 8-4  lead over Europe and Europe has never won in the U.S.

And just as with the men in the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup is a very emotional experience for anyone who earns the privilege of playing in them. I could not find any video, but 2011 Cup viewers will never forget the heartbroken sobbing of Christie Kerr when she tried to warmup on the range Sunday morning only to discover that her latent wrist injury wouldn’t allow her to even hold her club, let alone swing it. Even as her husband wrapped his arm around her shoulders as he walked her to the clubhouse, she was inconsolable.

One of the things that may make the Solheim Cup more watchable for golf fans is that it’s opposite the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, the last 2013 regular season event on the PGA Tour.

While that tournament will determine a great deal in terms of players keeping their cards and getting into the playoffs the following week, the Solheim Cup offers its own allure in taut matches and big-event pageantry.

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