Parker, CO-The 13th Solheim Cup will begin this Friday as the top female golfers in the United States are set to wage battle with the best that Europe has to offer. The biannual competition will be held this year at Colorado Country Club in Parker, CO, which is located just outside of Denver.
The U.S. squad is captained by Meg Mallon and she will do her best to guide her group of twelve ladies through three days of matches against a talented European team led by captain Liselotte Neumann.
While the U.S. holds an overall winning record (8-4) against the Europeans, the Europeans won the cup back two years ago when they bested the Americans 15-13 in Ireland. To retain the cup on American soil however is something that the Europeans will find very challenging especially considering they have never beaten the Americans outside of Europe.
Stacy Lewis headlines the American field as the second ranked player in the world is riding high after her Women’s British Open win just a few weeks ago. She is joined by a number of familiar names to golf fans as the remainder of the team consists of Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller. The team is made up of eight veterans as well as four rookies looking for their first taste of Solheim competition.
The European team is balanced with a mixture of veterans and rookies as Neumann has six Solheim Cup rookies on her squad. Suzann Pettersen and Catriona Mathew lead the team, as both players will be competing in their 7th Solheim Cup. They will be joined by Caroline Hedwall, Anna Nordqvis, Karine Icher, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Giulia Sergas, Carlota Ciganda, Carolina Masson, Beatriz Recari, Charley Hull and Azahara Munoz.
Although Europe may have a lot of rookies teeing it up this weekend Neumann is flanked by a vice-captain with one of the greatest records in Solheim history. Annika Sorenstam should bolster the confidence of the European team as she helps to guide the European players who are all very well aware of her staggering 22-11-4 Solheim record. Sorenstam also served as a vice-captain in 2011 when Europe was able to defeat the Americans who had been heavily favored to win.
For the U.S. team the focus will be to get back the cup and put pressure on the Europeans in the area that the Americans tend to dominate-singles play. The first two days will be made up foursomes and four-ball matches with Sunday culminating in 12 singles matches. The Americans have tended to show their best golf in the singles format and Suzann Pettersen spoke to this in an interview with the LPGA this week.
“It is always so close on a Sunday, I mean it’s like two or three points either side. The Americans have always been really good at getting those points and flipping it to their side and their victories. You can look at the final numbers and think it’s a walk in the park but it usually comes down to certain matches.”
Pettersen is the top ranked European player on the team at third in the world rankings and has a respectable 12-8-5 Solheim record.
The Americans may have more players ranked in the top fifty in the world rankings but that doesn’t always translate to better matches, especially in an event that involves strategy and teamwork. But “home field” advantage is something that the U.S. players are sure to draw from and will use to keep them motivated over the next few days.
“We’ve been waiting for two years to get our Cup back,” Paula Creamer said in an interview with the LPGA earlier this week, “We’ve never lost on home soil and we’re all very aware of that. It’s little bit of added pressure but I still think we can use our crowds to be great motivators for us and I think we’ll all feed off of that.”
Coverage of the Solheim Cup can be found on the Golf Channel.
August 16th: 5:00-9:00pm
August 17th: 9:30-9:00pm
August 18th: 2:30-8:30pm