SOLHEIM CUP — DES MOINES, IOWA — CLOSING CEREMONY of 2017 Solheim Cup was an extraordinary end to three days of intense competition among 24 top golfers. (twelve on Team USA and twelve on Team Europe — all “match play” format.) Photos below show the crowds at the closing ceremony: (left), the stage waiting for the two teams, middle photo each team entering the stadium — comments from the Solheim family — Captain Annika Sorenstam and Captain Juli Inkster and grand
Photo of the stage waiting for the two teams. We had comments from the Solheim family — Captain Annika Sorenstam and Captain Juli Inkster and the grand finale, words from LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan and then the final celebration with confetti and sparkle. Team USA’s 12 golfers won but Team Europe’s Team provided strong competition. Each Captain had a different approach to selecting the players for the two-some matches. Very exciting three days! I think women golfers should be more exposed to match play, and I will be writing about how to incorporate match play in women’s club season’s tournament schedule.
Each Captain had a different approach to selecting the players for the two-some matches. Very exciting three days! I think women golfers should be more exposed to match play, and I will be writing about how to incorporate match play in women’s club season’s tournament schedule.
The final results. What 3 days! I will have more to say on www.womensgolf.com. There will be lessons learned about match play, teams and Captain’s leadership style and theory. Heading over to the closing ceremony. Signing off from Des Moines, Iowa.
The Saturday morning matches TVscoreboard. Team Europe in blue won two of the Foursome (alternate shot) matches… picking up 2 points for Team Europe. The overall score is now Team USA with 7-1/2 points and Team Europe with 4-1/2 points (on the bottom line of the chart). My womensgolf.com colleague, Ben Harpring is here with me. We both agree that the alternate-shot format is the most difficult. Now the afternoon Foursomes (better ball of the two-some) will begin 12:10. Captain Sorenstam has made more changes in her pairings for this fourth match than USA Captain Juli Inkster. In fact, three of the foursomes in Team USA’s afternoon matches have played at least once together. That is the “pod” theory of Inkster. Said simply: Those who get along together, will play well together. One of the main features of this beautiful — and difficult — course is the rough. In some places, balls just a few feet off the fairway could be sitting in grass at least six inches deep.
The Rough at the Solheim Cup
The long rough is long! I measured it. Deepest rough is about 5 inches deep. Players comment that it also “sticky” to hit out of. That’s how it feels… sticky! Around most greens, there are two shorter areas of rough guarding the green surface. The course rewards players who hit onto the greens and avoid that rough. My guess that Sunday’s pins in the singles matches will be tight creating dramatic risk/reward approach shots. The superintendent and staff have worked overtime to keep this course playing consistently great, challenging and fair for these expert golfers.
At the end of the three days of matches, I will write more about my observations of the 2017 matches. But here are some observations… so far… at the end of the first day of matches.
- Women’s golf is very healthy;
- There should be more “match play” formats in the LPGA schedule;
- The Midwest of the United States is a great sports venue because there are great colleges and Universities in the Midwest with so many sports. teams (I went to the University of Minnesota and watched football, baseball, soccer and hockey to name a few. We didn’t have a “Giants stadium” but we were devoted sports fans)
- The Des Moines Golf and Country Club set up a remarkable tournament venue — more traditional green-grass courses as opposed to links-style. The layers of rough have really challenged the golfers! Bravo to Pete Dye and the recent course restoration and the LPGA Agronomist, the Course Superintendent and the LPGA Rules Committee. Team Europe may not be as familiar with these fairways lined with heavy rough as members of Team USA.
- Putting together a “team” takes some serious thinking. The two Captains have different philosophies about putting together their pairs – mini-teams really… I will have lots more to say about “teams” and team leaders.
- And yes I will address the criticism that the Solheim Cup does not include other top players from other countries.
So stay tuned….
But right now, I am closing down my computer so I can get up early Saturday morning and watch Day 2 of the Solheim Cup and write about it. This is my third Solheim Cup that I have attended and reported on. I am a fan of match play and would like to see more recreational golfers — of all skill levels — experience it — I’ll write more about that also. Stay tuned on NBC TV and watch great golf, by great women golfers, on a great course. It doesn’t get much better!
Nancy Berkley is an expert on women’s golf and junior-girls golf in the U.S. Nancy is a member of the World Golf Foundation Women’s Committee and a member of the National Golf Foundation. Nancy is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Harvard University, Rutgers Law School and has a degree from the Professional Management Program of Harvard Business School.
Nancy is an active golfer at Frenchman’s Creek Beach and Country Club, her home course in Palm Beach Gardens Florida, where she is a member of the Greens Committee. Describing herself as a good bogey golfer with permanent potential, Nancy shares news about women’s golf – along with her opinions on berkleygolfconsulting.com and nancyberkley.com.