2015 European Solheim Cup team capsules

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 14, 2015, 12:00 pm

Here is a breakdown of European captain Carin Koch's 12-player roster for the 14th Solheim Cup, which will be Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Click here for U.S. team capsules. The Europeans are the reigning champion, having won, 18-10, at Colorado Golf Club in 2012.

Carlota CigandaCarlota Ciganda

Age: 25

Record: 4-3-1 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 54th

LPGA/LET victories: 0/2

The lowdown: Ciganda was a part of Spain’s victorious International Crown team last year. She went undefeated in her first Solheim appearance two years ago and is an impressive 6-1-0 in international team play in the last two years.

Sandra GalSandra Gal

Age: 30

Record: 0-2-1 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 42nd

LPGA/LET victories: 1/0

The lowdown: Gal last won at the 2011 Kia Classic and returns to Team Europe for the first time since that year. The German native will look to improve upon a disappointing start to her Solheim career, after going winless in her lone appearance and losing, 6 and 5, to Brittany Lang in singles.

Caroline Hedwall
Caroline Hedwall

Age: 26

Record: 7-1-1 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 117th

LPGA/LET victories: 0/5

The lowdown: Hedwall was an undefeated 5-0-0 two years ago, becoming the first woman in Solheim history to win five matches in a single competition. She has taken an impressive 7 ½ out of nine total points available in her two Solheim appearances. 

Charley HullCharley Hull

Age: 19

Record: 2-1-0 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 50th

LPGA/LET victories: 0/1

The lowdown: The 2013 LET Rookie of the Year broke through for her first professional victory at the 2014 Lalla Meryem Cup. Hull, then just a 17-year-old captain’s pick, took down U.S. stalwart Paula Creamer, 5 and 4, in 2013, notching the first point for either team during Sunday singles.

Karine IcherKarine Icher

Age: 36

Record: 3-3-1 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 58th

LPGA/LET victories: 0/5

The lowdown: Icher returned to the Solheim Cup in 2013 for the first time since 2002 and went 2-1-1 in Colorado. She has not won an individual title since 2005.

Caroline MassonCaroline Masson

Age: 26

Record: 2-1-1 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 81st

LPGA/LET victories: 0/1

The lowdown: Masson lost just won match in her Solheim debut in 2013, going down, 4 and 3, to Lexi Thompson in singles. She was part of Caroline Hedwall’s history-making run that year, winning two fourball matches with the Swede.

Catriona MatthewCatriona Matthew

Age: 46

Record: 12-9-8 (8th appearance)

World ranking: 55th

LPGA/LET victories: 4/6 (one major)

The lowdown: The 2009 Women’s British champion and the oldest member of the team, Matthew, somewhat surprisingly given the margin victory, did not win a match in 2013, going 0-2-2. Matthew made her first Solheim appearance in 1998 and has been a part of Team Europe in each edition since 2003.

Azahara MunozAzahara Munoz

Age: 27

Record: 4-3-1 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 26th

LPGA/LET victories: 1/3

The lowdown: This marks the third straight year Muñoz will represent her country in team play, after winning the Solheim Cup in 2013 and the inaugural International Crown for her native Spain in 2014. Muñoz enjoyed a career year in 2014, winning the Ladies French Open for the second time and recording two major top-10s.

Gwladys Nocera
Gwladys Nocera

Age: 40

Record: 5-3-2 (4th appearance)

World ranking: 64th

LPGA/LET victories: 0/14

The lowdown: A native of France, Nocera is a two-time LET Player of the Year (2006, 2008) who is making her first Solheim appearance since 2009. Nocera did not lose in her last appearance, posting a 3-0-1 record. The lone halve came in a singles match with this year’s U.S. captain, Juli Inkster.

Anna NordqvistAnna Nordqvist

Age: 28

Record: 6-5-1 (4th appearance)

World ranking: 12th

LPGA/LET victories: 5/2 (one major)

The lowdown: The 2009 McDonald’s LPGA champion has three LPGA wins in the last two years, including her most recent victory at the ShopRite in May. Nordqvist, in 2013, recorded the first hole-in-one in Solheim history. Her ace on the 17th green at Colorado Golf Club closed out a Saturday alternate-shot match with partner Caroline Hedwall against Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda.

Suzann PettersenSuzann Pettersen

Age: 34

Record: 14-9-6 (8th appearance)

World ranking: 8th

LPGA/LET victories: 15/7 (two majors)

The lowdown: Pettersen, who won six times worldwide in 2013 and then struggled through 2014, has spent the last nine months remodeling her game under the tutelage of Butch Harmon. Their hard work paid off in June, when Pettersen won the Manulife LPGA Classic, ending a 19-month winless drought.

Melissa ReidMelissa Reid

Age: 27

Record: 1-3-0 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 85th

LPGA/LET victories: 0/5

The lowdown: Reid won the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open for the second time in May, and posted her best finish in a major, a T-9 at the Women’s British, in early August. She returns to the Solheim Cup after losing three matches by just four holes in 2011 and missing out on the festivities in 2013. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.