Kevin Na: What’s In The Bag?
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Kevin Na: What’s In The Bag?
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Team Europe will be chasing back-to-back Solheim Cup victories over Team USA when the pinnacle of women’s team golf tees off in Ohio. Here’s everything you need to know.
Catriona Matthew’s European team arrives in America as defending champions after their dramatic 14.5-13.5 victory at Gleneagles in 2019, and will be looking for their first win on American soil since their success in 2013.
AIG Women’s Open champion Anna Nordqvist is one of five players retained from Europe’s success last time, with Charley Hull and Carlotta Ciganda back for their fifth consecutive appearances, while former major champion Georgia Hall is also part of the team.
The women’s version of the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup is one the most prestigious events in the golfing calendar, with Europe and USA doing battle over three days of competition. It’s a biennial tournament and is named after the Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer Karsten Solheim, who was a driving force behind its creation.
Solheim Cup week officially begins on Tuesday 31st August – 6th September. The opening ceremony takes place on Friday 3rd September with the competition starting on Saturday 4th September and ending on Monday 6th.
At the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Founded in 1903, the club hired legendary architect Donald Ross in 1916 to construct the championship golf course. It has previously held four men’s US Opens and two PGA Championships, and also hosted the US Amateur, US Senior Open, and US Junior Amateur Championships.
The course was radically altered by Andrew Green four years ago, undoing much of the remodelling work undertaken by George and Tom Fazio in the late ’70s. It’s been likened to a US Open course, but it actually looks and feels more like a links course because of the elevation changes and how fast and firm it plays.
There’s lots of fescue, lots of big drop offs around the greens and deep bunkers, so there’s going to be a premium on accuracy. How players cope with the wind will be a big factor. American captain Pat Hurst does have the added advantage of setting up the course as she wants it.
The Solheim Cup is contested between two teams of 12 players over three days. It follows the same format as The Ryder Cup, with 28 matches: eight foursomes and eight fourballs over the first two days and 12 singles on the final day.
Catriona Matthew returns as Europe’s captain for this Solheim Cup, after claiming the title as captain in 2019 at Gleneagles. The Scot has featured in nine Solheim Cups as a player, winning three times (2003, 2011 & 2013). First time USA captain Pat Hurst is looking to capture the trophy for America. She has featured in five Solheim Cups, winning four of them.
Catriona Matthew could become the first Team Europe captain to lead Europe to successive wins, and the first to win home and away.
Team USA lead the overall head-to-head with 10 wins compared with Europe’s 6, but have failed to live up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites in recent years. In fact, Europe have won three of the last five Solheim Cups.
The home team on paper are big favourites. The Americans have won six of 16 events on the LPGA this season, and currently have seven players in the world’s top 25, including new No.1 and Olympic champion Nelly Korda. Europe only has one (Women’s Open champion Anna Nordqvist).
We can expect a predicted attendance of more than 150,000 spectators over the whole event, and Inverness Club has built the largest grandstand in LPGA history and created a stadium atmosphere around a number of holes.
Team Europe: Celine Boutier, Matilda Castren, Carlota Ciganda, Georgia Hall, Charley Hull, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Leona Maguire, Anna Nordqvist, Emily Kristine Pedersen, Sophia Popov, Mel Reid, Madelene Sagstrom.
Team USA: Brittany Altomare, Austin Ernst, Ally Ewing, Mina Harigae, Danielle Kang, Megan Khang, Jessica Korda, Nelly Korda, Jennifer Kupcho, Yealimi Noh, Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson.