Laura Davies doesn’t want an era to end, but the pressure is mounting on her in the two-week run-up for European Solheim Cup qualifying.
Davies is the only player to have competed in every Solheim Cup staged, all 12 going back to the inaugural in 1990.
She also holds records for most matches played (46), most points won (25) and most matches won (22, tied with Annika Sorenstam).
At 49, however, Davies is in a difficult spot to make the team for a 13th time with just two qualifying events left before the European team is set. She’s way down the qualifying ranks. She is 21st in the Euro Solheim Cup points standings and needs to crack the top four to secure an automatic roster spot. At No. 179 in the Rolex world rankings, Davies is even farther down in the Euro Solheim Cup world rankings list. She's 25th. She would also need to crack the top four on the Euro rankings list to earn an automatic roster spot.
Davies has this week’s ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters in England and next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland to try to qualify, or at least show something to captain Liselotte Neumann, who has four picks to make.
Davies told European reporters on the eve of this week's Ladies Masters that she would like to win and make her way on the team.
“I’m hoping I can do that, or just to show a bit form to the captain,” Davies said. “There might be one pick left that she’s um-ing and ah-ing about. I think the team pretty much sets up. A lot of people agree about who’s definitely in. There might be one spot left up for grabs and maybe if someone has a strong finish these two weeks they might get the captain’s attention.”
The Solheim Cup is scheduled Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club outside Denver. The teams will be announced a couple hours after the conclusion of the Women’s British Open.
Davies has 41 Solheim Cup points. Currently, Germany's Caroline Masson holds the fourth qualifying spot on points with 107.50. A victory at the Ladies Masters is worth 40 points this week, with a win at the Women’s British Open worth 80 points next week. There are points for top-10 finishes this week and top-20 finishes next week.
“You want to be there on merit,” Davies said. “You don’t want to be a captain’s pick. It means you haven’t done enough for two years to warrant that automatic spot, but then again the picks are there for a reason and sometimes you want something different. Sometimes it’s a new player, sometimes it might be bringing in an experienced player.”
If the European team were named today, Norway's Suzann Pettersen, Spain's Carlota Ciganda, Scotland's Catriona Matthew and Masson would make the team on points. Spain's Beatriz Recari, Sweden's Anna Nordqvist, France's Karine Icher and Spain's Azahara Munoz would make if off the world rankings.
The four captain's picks? Neumann has some tough choices in whether to go with form or Solheim Cup experience.
Sweden's Caroline Hedwall, who had a hand in Europe defeating the Americans in Ireland two years ago, is on the edge of qualifying off either the points list or the world rankings list. She seems a likely captain's pick. Though England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff has no Solheim Cup experience, she's No. 45 in the world and becoming a regular on LPGA leaderboards this year. Germany's Sandra Gal, who helped the Euros win in Ireland, also seems a strong possibility at No. 54 in the world but so does France's Gwladys Nocera, who is fifth on the Euro points list and has played on three Solheim Cup teams.
There's also a wealth of experience to choose from in Davies, Sweden's Sophie Gustafson and Maria Hjorth, England's Karen Stupples and Melissa Reid and the Netherlands' Christel Boeljon. They've all played on winning European Solheim Cup teams but have struggled to find their best form this season. England's 17-year-old Charley Hull is also garnering a lot of attention as an LET rookie.