Sunday, August 23, 2009

US Hangs on to Solheim Cup for Two More Years

In a singles Sunday that was closer than the final 16-12 victory inferred, the US maintained their dominance on home soil and retained the 2009 Solheim Cup. Three early victories by Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford and break-out girl Michelle Wie gave the appearance of a potential rout, but European tenacity left the outcome in doubt until near the end. After the US posted the three early victories the Europeans led in six matches, more than enough to capture the cup. A three birdie string by legend Julie Inskster in her match with Gwladys Nocera reversed what looked like a certain Euro victory and may have turned the momentum tide for the US. Laura Davies gave away what appeared to be certain victory against Brittany Lang by losing the final two holes. Morgan Pressel's 3 and 2 win over Anna Nordqvist was the official cup clincher. Final singles results.

Wie's victory over Helen Alfresson may have the longest ramifications. Michelle showed fight and guile over the always tough and experienced Helen after giving back an early three hole advantage. Rather than fold she continued to hit impressive shots and make pressure putts. Her prodigious power and talent may have been finally unleashed on a world stage devoid of her parents. She seemed extremely happy and relaxed with other players for the first time ever and they with her. Her 3-0-1 record as a rookie made her the Woman of the Match in this Average Golfer's book. Paula Creamer beat Suzann Pettersen 3 and 2 despite being outdriven by an average of two clubs on nearly every hole. Her reputation as the women's game's best iron player was on display. Creamer hit her approaches first and close, placing pressure that Pettersen couldn't shake off. Suzann was off all week and didn't really display her status as the Euro's top player. Christina Kim's match with impressive Tania Elosegui was perhaps the day's most entertaining. They battled back and forth and were locked in a tie for a good share of the match. Elosegui's mimic of Kim's celebratory finger twirl served to reinforce the tenacity of these matches. Late missteps bt Elosegui gave Kim a 2-up win. As much as I like Kim I thought perhaps her antics were just a little over the top today and that they grew a bit tiresome. The heavily partisan crowd was extremely loud, but never in bad taste as far as I could tell.

I'm sure the LPGA would love to bottle the interest level and feel of this event for the regular tour. The problem is it can't be done. A team competition with territory based partisanship can't exist in the independent contractor world of a professional golf tour. The tour needs to embrace the South Korean wave and find a way for fans to identify with the rank and file players. As good as Creamer, Stanford, Wie and the rest of the American contingent is they aren't any better than their Asian sisters and are surpassed by sheer numbers of talented players. An American winner won't crowned every week. The LPGA is wise to seek out Asian ties and sponsors as that's exactly where the game is going and growing. Xenophobes won't save the tour. A better economy and global outlook might. And maybe the new Michelle Wie.

Top flight golf, exciting final day matches, and a rooting interest made this a great day on the couch for this Average Golfer. Hope y'all enjoyed as well. See you in Ireland.

Til' next,


  1. It was quite a sight. I must confess, I haven’t been much of a Solheim Cup fan but that is also because of the very little time I have spent watching it. This time round, perhaps more than ever before, I managed to catch a lot of the action and it was great drama. I was really rooting for the European team and unfortunately they couldn’t sustain their form going into the final day.

    I was always a tad bit apprehensive about this tournament and wondered if the drama could match the atmosphere that surrounds the Ryder Cup. After having this one on tv, one thing is for sure, you wont be asking for your money back.

    Personally, it was great to see Michelle Wie go out there and win her matches and the emotions she showed through the four days. For anyone who wonders if she has lost the hunger for golf after having shown such great potential, I guess this tournmanet would serve as a perfect platform to answer their queries. She did a fine job for her team and now what she needs to do is to go out there and rid herself of all the negativity that shrouds her when she does it alone and prove to people that she can still pack a punch and many low rounds!

  2. Great comments Andy. Thanks. Begs a question though. Will your enjoyment of the Solheim Cup lead to an increase in your viewing of women's golf?