Friday, August 21, 2009

Solheim Cup primer

You can hunt around the Internet for a while to get info on the upcoming Solheim Cup. But why would you do that? Why would you make a bogey on a 107-yard par-3 with absolutely no trouble in sight. So, stay right here. Get your Solheim Cup briefing before the big event starts.

The Solheim Cup is a biennial event between female teams from the United States and Europe. It starts today and goes through Sunday. The format is similar to the annual male events - Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Here's the schedule for the matches: Friday and Saturday AM is four-ball matches followed by foursome matches each afternoon. Then on Sunday comes the grand finale – singles matches.

That's lots of golf and our friends at The Golf Channel will be there for virtually every swing and putt on Friday (9 AM – 2 PM and 4-6 PM) Saturday (9 AM – 6 PM) and Sunday (11 AM – 4:30 PM). That's pretty much wall-to-wall coverage.
Each team has twelve players decided by various qualification criteria. Suffice it to say that the final team make up always makes for interesting examination. This year each team has three rookies, the most notable being Michelle Wie of the U.S. Should be fun to watch how the matches go down with her. Hit the Solheim Cup link above to get a look at the teams.

The event is being played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL, a 6670-yard, links-style course. One intrigue of this course is that each hole has been named with a purpose. Visit the website for more info. Unfortunately it's a private course so you won't get to test it out after the ladies play.

Now here's the scoop. The U.S. team leads the biennial series, 7-3, and has never lost at home. On paper, and we all know how this “on paper” thing works, the U.S. is a heavy favorite. But remember, this whole event is contested at match play, that's hole-by-hole. If you pull a Paddy Harrington and make an eight, it doesn't ruin your whole tournament, just one hole.

What's great fun about this format is the match-ups you get. For instance today's morning matches feature two great matches. First Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer face Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson in the opening match. Kerr and Creamer are the Nos. 3 and 4 players in the world, but both Petterson and Gustafson have been playing well.

Next, and probably most interesting, is the final match featuring Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie against Catriona Matthew and Maria Hjorth. Pressel and Wie are, of course, the great young hopes of American ladies golf. In the past however, these two have not agreed on how to hit a two-foot putt never mind how to work as a best-ball team. This should be most entertaining to watch.

So now you should watch. Get to your television for the 9 AM start.

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