More than meets the eye
The women’s golf world is gearing up for what is arguably the biggest golf event on this year’s calendar but what is it really all about….Alfie? (sorry…that was a lame attempt at humor!!) I am not going to go through the history of the Solheim Cup as there are plenty of resources available for that. I will state that it a biennial event (i.e. held every 2 years) and it is a Team competition versus an individual tournament. It pits the top 12 women golfers on the LPGA from the USA against the top 12 from Europe.
There is something about playing for your country (a la the Olympics) that raises the game of golf to a whole new level. There is painstaking time taken in designing and choosing the wardrobes for the team members and their captains and assistants. The team colors are worn proudly. Face paint and other accessories come into play in a big way for both the players and the fans. Frenzied chants are heard throughout the golf course urging their team on to victory. The one I personally like is ‘Go USA!’. I am a bit biased but it’s my blog so I can be.
The is a week-long event and starts with practice rounds on each day, Monday thru Thursday. These practice rounds are great to watch. You get to see the players honing their shots and getting to know the course. You might even see some trick shots and friendly ‘wager’s with teammates. This is a side of the players you typically don’t get to see once the competition begins.
There are autograph opportunities, picture-taking privileges that you don’t have once the actual competition begins on Friday. There is a Past Captains’ Exhibition and Autograph Session where Former U.S. and European Captains will conduct
an entertaining exhibition including stories from previous Solheim Cups and special memories from each Captain. An autograph session for fans will follow the presentation. Those US Captains expected to participate in 2009 include: ’90 Captain Kathy Whitworth, ’92 Captain Alice Miller, ’94 Captain Joanne Carner, ’96 & ’98 Captain Judy Rankin, ’00 Captain Pat Bradley, ’02 & ’03 Captain Patty Sheehan, ’07 Captain Betsy King. Those European Captains expected to participate include: ’90, ’92, ’94, ’96 Captain Mickey Walker, ’98 Captain Pia Nilsson and ’00 & ’02 Captain Dale Reid.
Wow! Talk about looking golf history in the face. This event alone is worth the price of admission. But it doesn’t stop there. There will be a Pro-Junior Four Hole Challenge that features players from the US and European PING Junior Solheim Cup teams and former US and European Solheim Cup veterans in an alternate-shot competition. In 2009 former Solheim Cuppers Nancy Lopez, Rosie Jones, Patty Sheehan and Carin Koch are scheduled to compete.
Then comes the opening ceremony the evening before the ‘real’ competition begins. It is filled with the ‘pomp and circumstance’ befitting this type of event. I can already feel the goosebumps rising on my arms.
If you have any energy left after watching all of these events it is now time to put on your team colors (red, white and blue for me), grab your flags (Old Glory will do just nicely) and head to the 1st tee to watch 3 days of action packed golf unlike you have ever seen it before. It all ends with the Closing ceremony where the Waterford Crystal Trophy is awarded to the victorious team. It’s reminiscent of the Olympics… on a much smaller scale.
I hope that you are in a position to come to Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL (west of Chicago) to take in some of the events in person. If so give me a shout out…I’ll be there. If not, the match play will be televised on The Golf Channel (a staggering number of hours for women’s golf) starting with coverage of the Opening Ceremonies. So tune in any way you can. It doesn’t get much better than this.
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