Tale of the tape: U.S, Euro Solheim Cup teams

By Randall MellAugust 25, 2015, 3:38 pm

How do the American and European Solheim Cup teams stack up going to Germany in three weeks?

The Americans are younger. They’re ranked considerably higher overall in the Rolex world rankings. They’ve won twice as many LPGA titles and twice as many majors.

On paper, the Americans tower over Europe, but are they the underdogs going to St. Leon-Rot Golf Club, Sept. 18-20? With Europe playing at home this year, with the momentum and confidence of having won the last two Solheim Cups, are they the favorites?

All 12 players on the European roster are Solheim Cup veterans. Eleven of the 12 were either on the team that beat the Americans in 2013 or 2011.

“We’re the underdogs,” U.S. captain Juli Inkster said.

It makes sense. The Americans have lost the last two Solheim Cups. They got waxed in Colorado two years ago, beaten in a record rout. And now they’re headed overseas, with giant crowds expected in Germany for the biennial international competition.

But odds makers don’t think so.

All the bookmakers have the Americans favored. Paddy Power makes the United States 8-13 favorites, William Hill makes them 4-6 favorites and Totesport makes them 8-11 favorites.

The Americans have an average world ranking of 24.6, the Europeans 50.6.

The Americans have won 16 LPGA titles over the last two seasons, the Euros have won four. If you think that comparison’s bogus because the LPGA is an American-based tour, know that all but two players on the European roster are active LPGA members.

The Americans have won 10 major championships, the Europeans four.

The Americans are even younger, if that’s an advantage. Their average age is 28.3 compared to the Europe’s 30.3.

Here’s the tale of the tape, U.S. vs. Europe:

European player Age World rank LPGA titles Major wins Solheim record
Suzann Pettersen  34  7  15  2  14-9-6
Gwladys Nocera    40  63  0  0  5-3-2
Charley Hull    19  45  0  0  2-1-0
Melissa Reid    27  77  0  0  1-3-0
Anna Nordqvist    28  10  5  1  6-5-1
Azahara Munoz    27  23  1  0  4-3-1 
Sandra Gal    30  43  1  0  0-2-1
Carlota Ciganda    25  52  0  0  3-0-0
Catriona Matthew    46  53  4  1  12-9-8
Caroline Hedwall    26  107  0  0  7-1-1
Caroline Masson    26  71  0  0  2-1-1
Karine Icher    36  57  0  0  3-1-1

U.S. player Age World rank LPGA titles Major wins Solheim record
Stacy Lewis  30  3  11  2  2-5-1
Lexi Thompson  20  8  5  1  1-2-0
Cristie Kerr  37  14  17  2  12-14-4
Michelle Wie  25  20  1  6-5-1
Brittany Lincicome  29  13  6  2  5-7-2
Morgan Pressel  27  24  2  1  8-5-2
Angela Stanford    37  33  5  0  3-11-3
Gerina Piller   30  38  0  0  0-2-1
Lizette Salas  26  32  1  0  0-1-2
Alison Lee  20  29  0  0  0-0-0
Brittany Lang   30  42  1  0  5-4-2
Paula Creamer    29  40  10  1  12-6-5
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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.