The European team needs to step it up on US soil

By Randall MellAugust 20, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Solheim CupSUGAR GROVE, Ill. ' The Solheim Cup is going to get feisty.
 
The Americans might be as dominant as they appear on paper and win in a blowout, or Europe might follow form in this year of the spoilers and win in an upset.
 
But no matter what happens at Rich Harvest Farms, the matches will be intense.
 
The United States Paula Creamer and Europes Janice Moodie will make sure of it.
 
They immediately seized their roles as team bulldogs when the Solheim Cup teams were announced at the conclusion of the Womens British Open.
 
After being introduced in a news conference, Moodies confident nature came at the Americans like a right cross.
 
Ive been on two Solheim Cups, and Ive won two, Moodie boldly told those assembled.
 
Creamer couldnt wait to get the microphone to answer.
 
Ive been on two and won two also, Creamer shot back as a counter punch.
 
Neither has been on a losing Solheim Cup team, and theyre proud of it, but somebodys perfect record will be blemished this week.
 
No matter what the team scores are entering Sunday, if Moodie, 36, and Creamer, 23, are somehow matched in singles, it promises to be good theater.
 
Moodie, from Scotland , is 6-1-1 in Solheim Cup matches. She helped the Europeans win in 2000 and 03, but she wasnt selected in 05, when her level of play slipped. She played only a partial schedule with the birth of her first child in 06 and didnt make the 07 Solheim Cup.
 
Creamer is 5-1-4 in Solheim Cup matches. In 05, she became the first rookie to make a U.S. Solheim Cup team and the youngest player ever to compete in the matches. Shes an eight-time LPGA winner.
 
This is always the highlight of my career, Creamer said.
 
Creamer clinched the American victory in 07 in Sweden with a 2-and-1 singles victory against Maria Hjorth. It was a tough matchup with Hjorth from Sweden and the crowds strongly behind her.
 
It didnt surprise U.S. Solheim Cup assistant captain Meg Mallon when Creamer trumped Moodies statement at the Solheim Cup team introductions three weeks ago.
 
We knew Paula would be all over that, Mallon said. Shes Janices counterpart in intensity.
 
American captain Beth Daniel is acutely aware of Moodies special match-play qualities. Moodie teamed with Annika Sorenstam to defeat Daniel and Mallon 1 up in foursomes at Loch Lomond in Scotland in 2000.
 
Meg and I were 5 under, and we lost, Daniel said.
 
Daniel said Moodie can get under your skin and thats part of what makes her so formidable.
 
She gets really, really fired up, Daniel said. Shes kind of an in-your-face, pump-it-in-your-face kind of player. Thats what I mean by getting under your skin. She just loves match play.
 
Moodie is 2-0 in Solheim Cup singles.
 
Janice is super intense, and shes not intimidated by anybody, Mallon said. She loves playing for Europe, loves this event and thrives in it.
 
Moodies a two-time LPGA winner but shes struggled to find her best form the last few seasons. Her last victory was in 2002, but theres something about match play that brings out her best. European captain Alison Nicholas used one of three discretionary picks on Moodie.
 
My coach and I have been talking about why I havent performed as well as I think I should be, Moodie said. I think its because Im more of a match player. I love match play. Its just a different game.
 
If Moodie isnt teeing it up in the morning fourballs start on Friday, she isnt likely to remain on the bench for long. Shes especially good paired with fellow Scot Catriona Matthew, who won the Womens British Open this summer. Theyre 1-0-1 as a team in Solheim Cup matches and finished second together at the World Cup in 06.
 
Im sure one of the reasons Alison picked Janice is the confidence she brings to the team, Daniel said.
 
Watch exclusive GolfChannel.com LIVE streaming coverage of Day 1 of the Solheim Cup, Friday from 2 pm- 4 pm ET.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup
  • Meet the European Solheim Cup team
  • Meet the U.S. Solheim Cup team
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