One of the more prestigious international women’s professional golf events is the Solheim Cup, the women’s version of the Ryder Cup. Every two years the best in women’s golf get together to form two 12-member teams, a U.S. team and a European team, to compete for the highly coveted Solheim Cup. The last time the Cup was vied for was in 2003 in Sweden. Now, Carmel, Ind., is welcoming some of the biggest names in golf to the Crooked Stick Golf Club, Sept. 9-11.
Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Nancy Lopez captains the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA Tour against the best European-born players from the Robe di Kappa Ladies European Tour (LET), including five-time team member and returning team captain Catrin Nilsmark. The U.S. team leads the competition, 5-3, and has never lost on home soil, but Europe decisively took the cup in 2003 (EUR 17-1/2, USA 10-1/2) and looks to keep the cup in 2005.
The U.S. team came together after 10 players qualified by earning points for wins and top 20 finishes over a two-year span, and the two remaining spots were filled by the captain’s selections.
The European team was selected by taking the top seven players in the LET points standings who have consistently placed high in LET events, and the five remaining team members were selected by the captain.
The event features three days of match-play competition. The first two days of play will feature two sessions each day, featuring a total of eight foursomes and eight four-ball matches. The foursome matches feature two members from each team, with players alternating hits on the same ball, and one score being taken for the team at the end of the hole. Four-ball match is similar, however, each player has her own ball throughout the match and the best score of the two teammates is recorded after each hole.
The final day will consist of 12 singles matches of a U.S. team member against a European team member.
Twenty-eight points will be available over the three days of competition, with one point being awarded for each match victory and half a point for a tie. Because the European team is the defending champion, 14 points will be needed to keep the cup, while the U.S. team needs 14.5 points for the win.
The prestige, bragging rights and the Cup are up for grabs in front of an expected 100,000-plus fans on the grounds, with the Golf Channel covering every round in Carmel. More information can be found at www.solheimcup.com. Note that the event is sold out. For information on the opening ceremony — free and open to the public — see our listings below.