Solheim Hype Heating Up

By Brian HewittAugust 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
One of the sneaky good events in golf the last few years has been the Solheim Cup which pits the best professional female golfers in the U.S. against the best from Europe.
 
The matches have been competitive and heated. And, with the exception of a dramatic melt down here and there, the level of play has been very high.
 
Its about pride and patriotism, said U.S. Solheim Cup captain, Betsy King, earlier this week at the press conference to announce her captains picks -- Nicole Castrale and Laura Diaz.
 
The matches are scheduled for September at Halmstad Golf Club in Halmstad, Sweden. And the Americans will be defending the Cup.
 
The star of the last renewal of this event was Paula Creamer, who put her game where her mouth was. Prior to the matches Creamer had talked openly (and surprisingly confidently for a rookie) about her teams plans to win the Cup.
 
This week Creamer was a little more subdued. Im very honored, she said, to be on the team.
 
Meanwhile, the World Golf Hall of Fame this week announced the launch of an online Solheim Cup exhibit. It will complement the in-house exhibit'Pride, Passion, Patriotism: A Celebration of the Solheim Cup'that recently opened in the Halls museum. And it can be accessed by signing on at www.wgv.com.
 
The online exhibit features personal stories told by former captains and participants from both sides of the Atlantic. This afforded us the rare opportunity to get retrospective accounts from many of the key individuals throughout the tournaments first decade, making this exhibit an extremely personal one for the guest, said Jack Peter, the Halls chief executive.
 
ANNIKAS BEAU:
Meanwhile this will mark the first Solheim Cup for Annika Sorenstam since the announcement last weekend of her engagement to Mike McGee. Im told the couple is looking at a wedding date sometime in the spring of 2009.
 
A lot of people in golf know McGee as the son of former PGA TOUR pro Jerry McGee. But it turns out Mike McGee was quite an athlete in his own right while growing up in small town Ohio. He was an all-conference baseball, basketball and football player in high school and went on to set records as a relief pitcher at Mount Union College.
 
He majored in sports management and has worked running pro tournaments and later representing players. McGee met Sorenstam while employed by Executive Sports International.
 
When Annika and her fianc are home near Orlando he plays in the mens weekend games at Lake Nona where, he says, he gets 12 shots from the blue tees. He informed me his best round of golf is 78, although he has never carded better than a 95 while playing golf with Annika.
 
That, McGee says, is annoying to me. I try to tell her she hasnt seen my best and, ironically, she tells me the same thing.
 
Currently, McGee works as a managing director for Annika Club 59.
 
BMW AT COG:
The news is good from the Chicago area where the FedExCup will stage the BMW Championship next week at venerable Cog Hill. Vicious rain storms last week did virtually no damage to the golf course that will close the week after the BMW for a Rees Jones restoration.
 
Meanwhile, Cog Hill owner Frank Jemsek told me this week he firmly believes the TOUR will return to Chicago on a permanent basis after a hiatus next year during which the BMW will move to St. Louis.
 
Said Jemsek: In the long term I do not see the TOUR being out of Chicago every other year. The TOUR wants to be in this market and so do the sponsors.
 
So, too, I might add, do most of the players.
 
TWEAK OF THE WEEK:
The biggest criticism of the FedExCup point system so far from the players has been the fact that the points system makes it very difficult for players outside the number to play their way into the next weeks event.
 
There were 144 players who qualified for Week 1 at The Barclays. Only two players outside of the top 120 (the number that would advance to Week 2) made it to the Deutsche Bank Championship. They were Rich Beem and Doug LaBelle.
 
Meanwhile, several players missed the cut at The Barclays and still advanced to Deutsche Bank.
 
How about subtracting points for players missing the cut at a FedExCup event? Or, thinking even more outside the box, how about awarding bonus points to players for low rounds of the day?
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.