Although the Solheim Cup matches between Team USA and Team Europe are months away, it’s guaranteed that the term “Rolex Rankings” and “Solheim Cup” will be mentioned in every women’s golf Tour event until the matches begin on August 18th in Des Moines, Iowa. The teams will not be finalized until August 6th, but each Team Captain wants players who are playing well now!

2017 Solheim Cup Nancy Berkley womens golf
3rd Hole at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, host of the 2017 Solheim Cup

What you need to know to follow all the news [and impress your friends with your Solheim Cup expertise.]

1Solheim Cup

The victorious US 2015 Solheim Cup Team

Team Europe and Team USA each have 12 players. The Captain of Team Europe is Annika Sorenstam and the Captain of Team USA is Juli Inkster. The Teams play twosomes and singles matches against each other – all match play – over three days (August 18-20).

Members of Team USA must be born or naturalized citizens of the United States and be a member of the LPGA Tour.

Members of Team Europe must be born or naturalized citizens of a European country, United Kingdom country (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) or Ireland and be a member of the Ladies European Tour (the LET).  Team USA won the 2015 Solheim Cup; so, Team USA should be expecting tough competition.

2How the Teams are Selected

Lexi Thompson at the 2015 Solheim Cup

Each team uses three criteria for their team selection:   (1) “Solheim Points Ranking” based on performances on their respective LPGA and LET Tours, (2) Rolex Rankings and (3) Captain’s Picks.  But there are differences, and there will be discussions about the impact of those differences.  Some observers give Team Europe the advantage with four Captain’s Picks.

Team Europe selects four players based on Rolex Rankings who have not otherwise qualified as the top four players based on the LET Solheim Points Rankings and four “Captain’s Picks.”

In contrast, Team USA selects two players based on Rolex Rankings who have not otherwise qualified as the top eight players based on the LPGA Solheim Points Rankings and only two “Captain’s Picks.”

The Rolex World Rankings differentially weight performances from nine different global tours over a two-year period ending August 6, 2017 – the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open in Scotland.  The more recent tournaments have a greater mathematical weight and impact on a player’s Rolex Ranking.  For more about the Rolex Rankings see their Frequently Asked Questions page. To follow the rankings of players from a particular country, see rolexrankings.com/en/rankings and click on the country to see the rankings of the players from that country.

3The Heat is On! 

Players will play more competitively now than ever because there are more LPGA and LET Solheim Cup Points and Rolex Ranking points at stake.  A player who plays well can move up quickly in the rankings as the August deadline approaches.

Follow both Team USA and Team Europe on www.solheimcup.com.

Watch for more articles on www.womensgolf.com as the Solheim Cup get closer.  I love these team events that require outstanding match play skills.  Check out these womensgolf.com articles about the 2015 Solheim Cup matches including my profile of the wonderful Louise Solheim.

I will be on site at the 2017 Solheim Cup matches in Des Moines, Iowa reporting for womensgolf.com. The Solheim Cup is clearly my favorite golf event!


Nancy Berkley

Nancy Berkley is an expert on women’s golf and junior-girls golf in the U.S. A special interest of hers is encouraging women to enjoy golf with their business colleagues, clients and friends. 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 plays both social and competitive golf.  Her current Handicap Index on the USGA GHIN system is 17.5. 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. She attended the 2013 Solheim Cup in Colorado and the 2015 Solheim Cup in Germany and is looking forward to on-site reporting from the Solheim Cup in Iowa in August.

You can also follow Nancy on Facebook and Twitter.

Notes from Nancy feature in the Women’s Golf Newsletter which is sent out by email to thousands of golfers and women’s golf fans at the beginning of every month. Subscription is free.

6 COMMENTS

    • Good question because the Solheim Cup excludes all the great players from Asia and Australia. I just interviewed LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan and he addressed this same point. But — after he attended his first Solheim Cup, his response was “I hope I don’t mess with this.” The Solheim is unique because the players on each team know each other well which creates great camaraderie to this format. And because there are only two teams competing, each match has more tension — each match is like the final match (even though it really isn’t). This is “team” competition in a very intense and spirited format. I guess that’s what makes it my favorite. Mike Whan said that they had considered adding another team to the Solheim which would be like “rest of the world” — you will have to read my interview with the Commissioner coming up in a week or two on this site. There is another event — the LPGA International Crown (played in alternate years of the Solheim) which addresses your concern and mine also. In the Crown, eight countries with the best golfers do compete and that’s where we see individual countries including Korea and China competing — see https://www.womensgolf.com/international-cups/. I like the format of the Crown matches. It is still a “new” tournament because only been a couple of years. Maybe when you ask the same question six years from now, it’s possible I could have a different answer. Thanks so much for asking!

      • Thank you for such a great response to my question. While the players competing in the Solheim Cup may know each other I think there would be more familiarity with a US vs Korea format. There are many golfers on the European tour who only play the LET events. There are more top Korean golfers that play on the LPGA. There is probably more familiarity between players that play on the same tour. Even if there was a requirement to include KLPGA tour players I think there is a higher level of play on that tour. Compare American Beth Allen, the top player on the LET last year, to Song Hyun Park, the top player on the KLPGA. Which one is having more success this year on the LPGA. And I think that this event would be even bigger when staged in Korea than when they play in Europe. The biggest crowds on the LPGA are at the Korean tour stop. I think you would also see a large contingent of Korean fans when the event is played in the U.S.

        While I like the International Crown, it is a totally different event. There are only four players on the team as opposed to the Solheim Cup’s twelve and the drop off in talent is pretty steep after some country’s top two. The IC is not the same measure of depth of golfing talent as the SC. Also, the International Crown does not involve as much head-to-head competition between countries. For example, last year, there was only one match between U.S. and Korean golfers. And the matches for the final day are random generated. Last year that meant that one country (Korea) played every country’s top ranked golfer the final day while the U.S. played each finalist’s third or fourth ranked golfer. The International Crown could use an additional day of competition and some modifications to the format to allow more head-to-head competition.

  1. Very informative article. Thanks Nancy! And thought provoking question too! Caught between the love of tradition and the fact that Asia is on top of women’s golf. Just tough!

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