2011 Solheim Cup

September 27, 2011

- See all 177 of my articles

Two years ago I attended the Solheim Cup in person at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Course in Illinois. This year it was time for the 12th installment of the Solheim Cup Matches.

These are patterned after the Ryder Cup matches and were first organized and sponsored by Karsten Solheim, of Ping Golf Club manufacturing fame. The matches were held for the 12th time this year and as always alternating between the United States and a European venue. This year the matches were held in Ireland at the Killeen Castle Golf Course.

Europe has not won the Cup since 2003 but turned the tide against the Americans winning by the narrow margin of 15-13. There will be a lot of controversy in the matches this year as there is always is for the losing side.

But this year is way more about courage than any shortcomings of the players this week.

It basically came down to the match with Michelle Wie versus Suzann Petterson. Wie made a birdie on 15 to go 1 up in the match, but then Petterson birdie each of the last 3 holes to secure a 1 up win basically gaining the cup.

One of the picks of Captain Rosie Jones was former Big Break participant and UCLA collegiate golfer Ryan O’Toole. She played extremely well up until a month or so ago on the LPGA tour, routinely being in contention, but had disappeared like the Dodo Bird recently in tournament play.

Jones took a lot of heat for putting O’Toole on the team, and she held firm, never losing a match. She did however fail to close out a match she had under control eventually ending up with a half of point for the tied match with Caroline Hedwall after losing the last 2 holes. This on the heels of the Petterson win, and this put the final verdict as the best the Americans could do would be to half and share the cup.

At that point the Europeans need just one more half at that point to get the cup. Spain’s Azahara Munoz birdied the 17th hole to go 1 up on Angela Stanford and guarantee Europe’s victory.

More heat will be sure to be on Captain Rosie Jones for not sitting American stalwart Kristie Kerr. Kerr who had an injured write played in all 4 matches on Friday and Saturday was unable to go for the singles matches on Sunday, giving the European team an automatic full point. Kerr taped her write and tried to gut it out all week, but was just flat unable to play and really even hold a golf club as she attempted to warm up on the range for Sunday singles play.

Kerr is a gamer, no different than a basketball or football players saying to their coach “tape me up and get me back in there” But everyone has point where they can no longer breach the pain threshold.

Paula Creamer seemed extra nice for the TV camera, but failed miserably getting boat raced 6-5 in the pole position match of the day against Catriona Matthew. That set a poor tone for the American side, which coupled with the WD from Kerr ended up being too much to overcome.

The train wreck twosome of the day ended up being Juli Inkster against Laura Davies. Davies is somewhat the LPGA version of John Daly – she can bomb it anywhere and often does, but when the lady is getting up and down from parking lots and trash cans, opponents beware, and she had one of those days on Sunday. Inkster on the other yipped short putt after short putt allowing a match to end in a half that should have been a definitive USA win.

To me the biggest news of the week was seeing Sophie Gustafson doing her first ever television Interview. I have always been a fan of Gustafson, but I did not know what most anyone now knows that watched the Solheim Cup. Gustafson has a severe stuttering issue. She did a sit down interview with prepared questions on note cards for the Golf Channel telecast. The first opening when she was explaining her issues with stuttering you could tell that she was exceedingly nervous which just enhanced the stuttering. After taking some time to gather thoughts and just talk about golf, she seemed much more at ease and did pretty well in my opinion.

You could tell the video was edited in points but I am sure this was much more of a daunting task for Gustafson than any 4 foot putt she ever had to make to win a golf tournament.

Most people don’t know that long time CBS golf announcer and US Open Champ Ken Venturi also struggled with stuttering issues in his youth.

Here is hoping that the take away we all have from this sporting event is not to bicker and moan and look at the decision coaches made, or the play of individual players but instead look at the courage that occasional shows itself in the world of sports.

Until next time, Stay Classy Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida!

Leave a Reply