The 13th Solheim Cup
matches begin Friday morning at Colorado Golf Club
, just outside Denver. The two team captains, Liselotte Neumann and Meg Mallon introduced the two teams on Sunday August 4, following Stacy Lewis's dramatic victory at the Women's British Open.
The first eight women on the U.S. team qualified on points, while positions 9 and 10 qualified via the Rolex Rankings
- Stacy Lewis: 2nd appearance (1–3–0, 1 point)
It is not unreasonable to expect captain Mallon to have Lewis play in all five sessions. Lewis roared from behind during the 36-hole final of the Women's British Open to win in stunning fashion.
- Paula Creamer: 3rd appearance (11–3–5, 13.5 points)
- Cristie Kerr: 7th appearance (11–11–3, 12.5 points)
Kerr may or may not wind up on the injury list again; during practice on Wednesday, Kerr was wearing a rather large bandage that covered her entire right forearm, down to the wrist — a case of tendonitis that has bothered her for the last four months. At the 2011 Solheim Cup in Ireland, Kerr was forced to concede her Sunday singles match to Karen Stupples, due to a wrist injury.
Having said that, this will be the 35-year-old Kerr's seventh Solheim Cup appearance — and it is impossible to ignore experience.
- Angela Stanford: 5th appearance (3-7-3, 4.5 points)
- Brittany Lincicome: 4th appearance (4–6–1, 4.5 points)
- Lexi Thompson: Rookie
Thompson might be a Solheim Cup rookie, but she's not a rookie when it comes to playing golf on other large stages. In 2009, she won the U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur, then made it to the semi-finals of the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur. At the 2010 Curtis Cup, Thompson went 4-0-1.
After turning professional at age 15, she played various events on sponsor exemptions while biding her time to get on the LPGA Tour. After the LPGA allowed her to enter the 2011 LPGA qualifying school, she won round one — then smashed the naysayers to bits by winning the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic. It took a few weeks, but LPGA commissioner Michael Whan finally relented and gave her the 2012 LPGA Tour card she rightfully earned.
- Jessica Korda: Rookie
- Brittany Lang: 3rd appearance (2-3-2, 3 points)
- Lizette Salas: Rookie
- Morgan Pressel: 4th appearance (7–2–2, 8 points)
U.S. captain Meg Mallon announced that her two wild-card choices for the team are rookie Gerina Pillar
and three-time Solheim Cup veteran Michelle Wie
, whose all-time record is 4-3-1.
Mallon raised eyebrows with her choice of Wie over Jennifer Johnson, who was ranked higher than Wie and won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic back in May. In contrast, Wie has not won a tournament in three years. But Mallon stated her justification:
"She lives on this stage almost every day that she plays. So walking into this environment is not going to affect her. I needed another player like that on the team. I had three rookies already. And like I said earlier, do I want five to six birdies a day at home sitting on the couch? So for me, that was a pretty easy decision."
The top qualifiers are:
- Suzann Pettersen (Norway): 7th appearance (12–8–5, 14.5 points)
- Catriona Matthew (Scotland): 7th appearance (12-7-6, 15 points)
- Carlota Ciganda (Spain): Rookie
- Caroline Masson (Germany): Rookie
- Beatriz Recari (Spain): Rookie
- Anna Nordqvist (Sweden): 3rd appearance (4-4-0, 4 points)
- Karine Icher (France): 2nd appearance (3-0-0, 3 points)
- Azahara Muñoz (Spain): 2nd appearance (2-1-1, 2.5 points)
Pettersen, Ciganda, Matthew, and Masson all qualified on the basis of being the top four players on the Ladies European Tour Solheim Cup point structure. Recari, Nordqvist, Icher, and Muñoz all qualified on the basis of their standing in the Rolex Rankings
Team Europe captain Liselotte Neumann's four wild-card choices are:
- Caroline Hedwall (Sweden): 2nd appearance (2-1-1, 2.5 points)
For the second straight Solheim Cup, the 24-year-old Swede is a captain's selection; she went 2-1-1 in Ireland when Team Europe won. Her best finish in the majors this year is a T-3 at the Kraft Nabisco. Given her previous experience — and the fact that she played college golf at Oklahoma State University; captain Neumann probably couldn't not pick Hedwall.
- Jodi Ewart-Shadoff (England): Rookie
Ewart-Shadoff might be the most interesting rookie on Team Europe. Born in North Yorkshire, England, she was a member of the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team in 2008 and graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2010. During here career at UNM, she won five events and was an NCAA All-American in 2009 and 2010. Thus far in 2013, she finished T-7 at the Kraft Nabisco and T-4 at the U.S. Women's Open.
- Giulia Sergas (Italy): Rookie
- Charley Hull (England): Rookie
Born in England of Polish ancestry, Hull left school at age 13 in order to play golf on a better competitive stage, relying on home-schooling away from the course. She was part of the winning 2012 Curtis Cup team for GB&I, then earlier this year finished T-38. Also notably, she was T-3 after the first round of the Women's British Open. Hull winters in Florida with her family, so she is no stranger to the American golf scene, by any stretch.
Talk about a wild-and-woolly course! Colorado Golf Club debuted in 2007 with a very impressive design by the "neo-traditionalist" architecture team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The challenging prairie dunes / links-flavored layout is compounded by Colorado GC's elevation — 6,100 feet above sea level. This means that in addition to having to factor for adrenaline during the matches, all 24 golfers will have to take the thin mountain air and the longer ball-flight into account.
Even without the cachet and prestige of hosting the Solheim Cup and the 2010 Senior PGA Championship, Colorado Golf Club is already on this writer's "golf bucket list."
If You're In Colorado:
Don't just sit there... get your tickets online
Golf Channel will televise the matches:
Opening ceremony, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. EDT
9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT at GolfChannel.com
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. EDT
9:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. EDT
2:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. EDT
Read an interesting golf article? Tip your editor!
Images via SolheimCup.com, Colorado Golf Club
With the rise of the many fine players from Asia, this event has sort of become like the AA Baseball World Series. The USA Team can yell and celebrate the expected drubbing of the under-womaned Euro's but you have to wonder how they would do against little old South Korea.
Good point Brian. Beating Europe's brains in is a hollow victory at best. There'd be much more xenophobia, inappropriate jingoism and us against them hostility at stake if it were white er sorry America vs. Asia. IE RATINGS GALORE
I remember Colorado GC giving the senior tour fits during one of their majors held there, so this should be interesting.