Solheim Hype Heating Up

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One of the sneaky good events in golf the last few years has been the Solheim Cup which pits the best professional female golfers in the U.S. against the best from Europe.
 
The matches have been competitive and heated. And, with the exception of a dramatic melt down here and there, the level of play has been very high.
 
Its about pride and patriotism, said U.S. Solheim Cup captain, Betsy King, earlier this week at the press conference to announce her captains picks -- Nicole Castrale and Laura Diaz.
 
The matches are scheduled for September at Halmstad Golf Club in Halmstad, Sweden. And the Americans will be defending the Cup.
 
The star of the last renewal of this event was Paula Creamer, who put her game where her mouth was. Prior to the matches Creamer had talked openly (and surprisingly confidently for a rookie) about her teams plans to win the Cup.
 
This week Creamer was a little more subdued. Im very honored, she said, to be on the team.
 
Meanwhile, the World Golf Hall of Fame this week announced the launch of an online Solheim Cup exhibit. It will complement the in-house exhibit'Pride, Passion, Patriotism: A Celebration of the Solheim Cup'that recently opened in the Halls museum. And it can be accessed by signing on at www.wgv.com.
 
The online exhibit features personal stories told by former captains and participants from both sides of the Atlantic. This afforded us the rare opportunity to get retrospective accounts from many of the key individuals throughout the tournaments first decade, making this exhibit an extremely personal one for the guest, said Jack Peter, the Halls chief executive.
 
ANNIKAS BEAU:
Meanwhile this will mark the first Solheim Cup for Annika Sorenstam since the announcement last weekend of her engagement to Mike McGee. Im told the couple is looking at a wedding date sometime in the spring of 2009.
 
A lot of people in golf know McGee as the son of former PGA TOUR pro Jerry McGee. But it turns out Mike McGee was quite an athlete in his own right while growing up in small town Ohio. He was an all-conference baseball, basketball and football player in high school and went on to set records as a relief pitcher at Mount Union College.
 
He majored in sports management and has worked running pro tournaments and later representing players. McGee met Sorenstam while employed by Executive Sports International.
 
When Annika and her fianc are home near Orlando he plays in the mens weekend games at Lake Nona where, he says, he gets 12 shots from the blue tees. He informed me his best round of golf is 78, although he has never carded better than a 95 while playing golf with Annika.
 
That, McGee says, is annoying to me. I try to tell her she hasnt seen my best and, ironically, she tells me the same thing.
 
Currently, McGee works as a managing director for Annika Club 59.
 
BMW AT COG:
The news is good from the Chicago area where the FedExCup will stage the BMW Championship next week at venerable Cog Hill. Vicious rain storms last week did virtually no damage to the golf course that will close the week after the BMW for a Rees Jones restoration.
 
Meanwhile, Cog Hill owner Frank Jemsek told me this week he firmly believes the TOUR will return to Chicago on a permanent basis after a hiatus next year during which the BMW will move to St. Louis.
 
Said Jemsek: In the long term I do not see the TOUR being out of Chicago every other year. The TOUR wants to be in this market and so do the sponsors.
 
So, too, I might add, do most of the players.
 
TWEAK OF THE WEEK:
The biggest criticism of the FedExCup point system so far from the players has been the fact that the points system makes it very difficult for players outside the number to play their way into the next weeks event.
 
There were 144 players who qualified for Week 1 at The Barclays. Only two players outside of the top 120 (the number that would advance to Week 2) made it to the Deutsche Bank Championship. They were Rich Beem and Doug LaBelle.
 
Meanwhile, several players missed the cut at The Barclays and still advanced to Deutsche Bank.
 
How about subtracting points for players missing the cut at a FedExCup event? Or, thinking even more outside the box, how about awarding bonus points to players for low rounds of the day?
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup