It's Solheim Cup week and it's my favourite week of the year. The Solheim Cup is without doubt the biggest event in women’s golf and I recently went to the AIG Women's Open and the Curtis Cup to find out what the Solheim Cup mean's to both fans and players in the women's game.
- The event was formed in 1990 by Karsten Solheim, who regular readers of Golfalot will know is the founder of equipment manufacturer Ping.
- The format is played over three days and is based on the men’s Ryder Cup.
- The 12 best players from America take on the 12 best players from Europe.
- It is a biannual event which is played alternately in America and Europe.
- Similarly to the Ryder Cup, Team America were the dominant force until recent years. Europe have won three out of the last five matches but this record could be tough to keep up as there is a big advantage to playing a match on home soil... Only three times has an away team won the Solheim Cup.
- The 17th addition will be held at Inverness GC, Toledo, USA. Three days of matchplay golf. 4 fourball and 4 foursomes matches take place on Saturday and Sunday then on the Monday all 12 players tee it up in 12 singles matches to decide the winner.
So first things first, the Players. Let's take a closer look at who to look out for this year on both sides.
Each team has a captain, the American sides leader is Pat Hurst who had five Solheim Cup Appearances as a player and Europe have a returning captain in Catriona Matthews who has an impressive 9 appearances as a player and one as a captain.
The sides are as follows:
USA Solheim Cup Team
Europe Solheim Cup Team
Nanna Koertstz Madsen
Emily Kristine Pedersen
Ones To Watch
Nelly Korda is currently ranked world number one and to say she's had an impressive year would be an understatement. She captured her first major and a gold medal in the Olympics - she has burst on to the scene in extremely impressive fashion so is without doubt the hottest player heading in to this years tournament.
See Nelly Korda's full What's In The Bag here
On the European Team Anna Nordqvist is playing her 7th Solheim Cup and she of course the last major. The AIG women’s open at Carnoustie so clearly has some game heading into this week.
Jennifer Kupcho recently turned professional after winning the inaugural Augusta Women’s Amateur in 2019 so is certainly one for the future.
Sophia Popov nearly retired from golf to work in the media, in fact she commentated on the 2015 Solheim Cup in her native Germany, however thanks to her fairytale AIG Women's Open victory last year Sophia is not just talking a good game but playing one too.
The One They All Want To Beat
Danielle Kang is the one every European wants to best due to her fantastic matchplay record (she has won two US amateurs). She is without doubt the talisman for the United States and always wears her heart on her sleeve.
I think it would be fair to say that Mel Reid is the most vocal of the European team and the one America will be looking to silence by beating. The English women was a vice captain in Gleneagles but vowed to play in the next match and true to her word - here she is.
Things To Watch Out For
The first tee. 2000 spectators will be surrounding the first tee on Saturday morning. There will be lots of Stars and Stripes yelling “USA” but look out for the blue and yellow of Europe. They have heir own songs and will try their best to support their team.
The emotion. Players do not get paid for appearing or winning the Solheim Cup but this doesn’t matter to any of them. You’ll never see more emotion and fist pumps than during this week. Even the quieter players like Leona Maguire and Ally Ewing will be walking putts in and getting the crowd involved.
Coverage starts Friday at noon on Sky Sports Golf, if you have never watched women’s golf before. This is the best place to start.