Notes Solheim Trash Talking Lineup Intrigued


2007 Solheim CupHALMSTAD, Sweden -- The verdict on whether it will go down as trash talk may not be rendered until after the Solheim Cup has been won.
For now, simply consider the comments offered Thursday by Britain's Laura Davies a breath of fresh air.
'We're all good friends now,' Davies said, when asked if it's easy to get fired up to compete against Americans. 'Except for maybe that one -- I consider all of them my friends.'
And who would 'that one' be? 'I would never tell you,' she said.
Unafraid of cracking a joke or straying off the straight and narrow, Davies was her usual entertaining self on the eve of the Solheim Cup, the women's match-play event that has been known over the years for its share of disagreements, fiery moments and uncomfortable situations.
Davies is the only player who has participated in every one of these since they began in 1990.
'I think it just makes me the oldest. It's as simple as that,' she said.
She makes no apologies for her physique (not like Natalie Gulbis) or her age (43), and when asked if this could be her last hurrah at the Solheim Cup, her answer is simple: 'God, no.'
'I'm playing as well now as I've ever played, and age is nothing,' Davies said. 'Golf -- everyone goes on about all this fitness -- but golf is walking and swinging a club.'
The LPGA Tour has scheduled the 2009 Solheim Cup for late August, a date that should keep it from going head-to-head against the PGA TOUR Championship.
It's an issue, especially now that the PGA TOUR is in the first year of its FedEx Cup playoff, which culminates Sunday in Atlanta, a few hours after the Solheim Cup wraps up in Sweden. The winner of the PGA TOUR playoff earns a $10 million annuity.
'This year's event was set long before the TOUR Championship was set,' LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens said Thursday, the eve of the women's match-play event between the United States and Europe.
The past four Solheim Cups have started in September and have fallen on the same week as the Canadian Open (2005), John Deere Classic (2003), Tampa Bay Classic (2002) and Michelob Championship (2000) -- none considered top events on the PGA Tour schedule.
Bivens said the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour are happy with their Solheim Cup TV arrangements. In the United States, the GOLF CHANNEL will air the entire Solheim Cup live, beginning at 2 a.m. EDT on Friday, then again on replay in the evening. The event received extensive coverage on NBC through 2002, but the GOLF CHANNEL took over exclusive coverage in the United States in 2003. NBC is televising the TOUR Championship this year.
Still, the GOLF CHANNEL has advanced in recent years thanks to its deal to cover the first two days of pretty much every PGA TOUR event starting this year.
'The wall-to-wall coverage is good because it's an event where there are only 24 women playing and it gives TV the resources to really tell about who each of these women are, their stories, how they got here,' Bivens said.
Bivens also defended the LPGA's decision to schedule a new tournament last week in Rogers, Ark., where rain caused the event to be shortened from 54 to 18 holes.
Ten Solheim Cup players were entered in that tournament, which concluded Sunday with no gallery because the grounds were too soaked to allow fans to enter. The players all arrived in Sweden on schedule to start practice for the Solheim Cup.
'These women are professionals, most of them want more tournaments, not fewer,' Bivens said. 'It was just bad luck, just an act of God that it went the way it did. But it wouldn't cause us to change what we did.'

Laura Davies has always liked going out first in Solheim Cups. But European captain Helen Alfredsson wanted to pair her with rookie Becky Brewerton and thought Brewerton might want some time to get used to the scene before teeing off. So Davies is going third.
'I talked with Laura and we discussed it,' Alfredsson said. 'I think she's OK with it. I know she's OK with it.'
The Americans have often put Juli Inkster out first, which means she ends up paired against Davies. But American captain Betsy King also pulled a switch and put Inkster in the third pairing, with Paul Creamer.
So, it will be Inkster pitted against Davies in a matchup of the two players with the most Cup experience.
The weather was almost perfect for practice rounds Thursday, in the mid-60s and sunny. It is forecast to deteriorate over the weekend, bringing rain and heavy wind on Saturday. 'The way I look at it is it's the same for everybody,' American captain Betsy King said. 'In Europe, they think they get more bad weather than we do in America, but we've all played in our share. I've had a couple players tell me they want to go out and play in the bad weather. So, we're ready.' ... Besides Inkster, with 13.5 Solheim Cup points in her career, nobody else has cracked double figures on the American team. Pat Hurst is close with nine. ... PING announced it has extended its sponsorship of the Solheim Cup through 2015. Without the arrangement, the event would need a new name. It is named after Karsten Solheim, the founder of PING, and his family.
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup