Designing Women

By Randall MellJune 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Solheim CupThe largest gathering of perfect American women isnt backstage during New York Fashion Week.
 
Even Americas most striking models sport imperfections as they strut runways among the most famous models in the world.
 
You want perfect female form adorned in red, white and blue?
 
Check out the fairways during a Solheim Cup on American soil.
 
The United States is spectacularly unblemished, never beaten at home since the matches began in 1990.
 
The Americans are 5-0 at home against the Europeans.
U.S. Solheim Cup Standings (as of Jun 1, 2009)

1. Paula Creamer 654.0

 
2. Cristie Kerr 554.0

 
3. Angela Stanford 493.5

 
4. Brittany Lang 277.5

 
5. Christina Kim 255.0

 
6. Nicole Castrale 227.0

 
7. Morgan Pressel 209.5

 
8. Natalie Gulbis 201.0

 
9. Krsity McPherson 189.0

 
10. Brittany Lincicome 181.0

Moreover, its never really been close with the Americans throttling Europe by a cumulative score of 71 to 48 .
 
Its a daunting record to live up to for U.S. captain Beth Daniel and the Americans trying to make the team.
 
The race to make the U.S. squad is reaching the backstretch of nearly two years of qualifying with the matches scheduled Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
 
Just seven LPGA events remain before the teams are finalized Aug. 2 after the Womens British Open.
 
Although so few events remain, a lot of points are still for grabs with the top 10 Americans in the final point standings automatically qualifying. Daniel will complete the squad with two captains picks.
 
Next weeks McDonalds LPGA Championship is one of three major championships to be played before the teams are finalized. The majors offer double points ' actually triple points from last year.
 
Mathematically, only the top three Americans (Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford) have clinched spots on the team, though No. 4 Brittany Lang and No. 5 Christina Kim are comfortably positioned. Theres more work to do for No. 6 Nicole Castrale, No. 7 Morgan Pressel, No. 8 Natalie Gulbis, No. 9 Kristy McPherson and No. 10 Brittany Lincicome.
 
Lang and McPherson would be the only U.S. Solheim Cup rookies to make it on points should those standings hold.
 
Castrale, Kim, Lincicome and Pressel have just one Solheim Cup under their belts.
 
No. 11 Laura Diaz, No. 12 Stacy Prammanasudh, No. 13 Pat Hurst and No. 14 Juli Inkster are well positioned to make moves. Rookie Michelle Wie also is within reach at No. 17.
 
While Daniel is highly motivated to protect the home turf, shes wary of the motivating effect that record could have on the Europeans.
 
I dont like to mention it publicly, Daniel said. We certainly want to keep that record intact, but its not a record we want to rub in to the Europeans.
 
Daniel has invited the top 10 Americans in the point standings to a practice round at Rich Harvest Farms on June 15, the day after the McDonalds LPGA Championship.
 
I havent been having any player meetings or anything like that yet, its too early, Daniel said. Ive been in the situation these players are in, where youre on the cusp and youre almost trying too hard. It seems like every interview you see with American players, the Solheim Cup comes up. I do check in with players, but I tell them not to put too much pressure on themselves.
 
Castrale, Gulbis, Kim, Kerr, Lang, Lincicome, McPherson and Stanford have confirmed theyll make the practice.
 
On the European side, Englands Laura Davies logged her first practice round at Rich Harvest Farms last week.
 
Davies and her comrades are painfully aware of their road-team failure.
 
Absolutely, and it bothers me, said Davies, who is poised to play in her 11th Solheim Cup, making her the only player to compete in every Solheim Cup.
 
Davies, however, is embracing the underdog role.
 
This time will be as difficult as weve ever had it with the American team being as tough as its ever been, Davies said.
 
The Europeans will be playing without Annika Sorenstam for the first time since 1992.
 
Davies, 45, said Sorenstams absence intensifies the underdog feeling. So does the difficulty of the Rich Harvest Farms course she expects to favor the Americans.
 
Its an incredibly tough, tough golf course, Davies said. The rough is lethal. If you miss a green, its very, very difficult to get up and down. The fairways are generous, but theres a lot of movement to them. Theyre hard to find.
 
Its a long course, thats a good thing. I think my games suited to it, but the course is suited to a short hitter, too, because of the need to hit fairways.
 
Davies is 21-16-4 in Solheim Cup matches. She needs to earn one point to equal the Solheim Cup record for points (24) held by Sorenstam (22-11-4).
 
The European squad, led by captain Alison Nicholas, will be made up of the top five in points from the Ladies European Tour Solheim Cup standings, the top four Europeans from the Rolex Womens World Golf Ranking and three captains picks. Davies, Suzann Pettersen and Helen Alfredsson are the most recognizable names in the mix. Sorenstams actually third in the LET standings but not active in golf anymore.
 
Hopefully, we can pull an upset, Davies said.
 

 

 

 

 
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