Of course, it's dangerous picking a winner before the event is played. Too much can happen between the first drive and the last putt. But look at this one straight-up, sideways, or upside-down, and it's the same conclusion every time: an American victory.
European Captain Dale Reid had no choice whom to pick. The usual suspects were waiting, regardless of how their games have stacked up this year. Helen Afredsson. Laura Davies. Alison Nicholas. Liselotte Neumann. Reid picked seven Swedes and three English. The other two you probably never have heard of - Patricia Meunier Lebouc of France and Raquel Carrido of Spain.
It's a real problem that several of these veterans have been in slumps. The U.S. doesn't look as strong as it normally does, but it won't go to war with as many cold putters. If they put away the clubs and played this strictly on paper, it would be a big American victory.
They are playing this in Scotland, but not at a course that favors the Europeans. Almost all the European squad plays the American tour so it should not make any difference. The seven Swedes certainly weren't brought up playing links courses. But were there any kind of a built-in advantage, the Europeans certainly gave it away when they chose Loch Lomond. The course is beautiful, it is challenging, but it is not a links. Perhaps the weather will be some advantage with its cool temperatures and windy conditions.
'I don't think the actual golf course really makes any difference,' said Davies, who just went through her first season in 15 in which she did not win a single European event.
The Europeans, as a matter of fact, prefer the more American-style course to the more traditional linksland this time of year. 'I think it would have been torture,' said Davies. 'It could be torture up in Scotland, but we will just have to wait and see what happens. But you are almost guaranteeing torture in October on a links.'
Of course, something is missing. Karrie Webb does not come from the United States or Europe. And Karrie Webb is the world's best player. She's from Australia, a country that's neither fish nor fowl, American nor America's opponent. And if she's not playing, something's missing.
U.S. Captain Pat Bradley has at her disposal 12 solid players. The difference is, she has much more depth from which to choose. If three or four Americans are having bad years, she simply goes to someone else. Reid has a core group of 10 players, and if three or four of them are struggling through down years, she has no other option. She chooses the 10 and hopes for best. As an example of the sameness that Europe contends with year after year, five of the 12 have been selected every year that the Solheim has been in existence.
Of course, it would be far preferable if it were a Presidents Cup format where America played the world. Australia, Asia and Canada are very strong this year. But that is a different story. Europe will play the U.S., and somewhere in there a winner will evolve.