The Americans are highly motivated to win back the Solheim Cup.
The Europeans are just as motivated to finally win on American soil with the 13th rendition of the biennial matches scheduled next week at the Colorado Golf Club outside Denver.
The competition was given a jolt of revitalization two years ago with the Euros defeating the Americans in a dramatic finish in Ireland, ending Europe’s run of three consecutive losses. The matches seemed to be on the verge of irrelevance going to Ireland in 2011, with the United States taking an 8-3 overall record there. The Americans had won in lopsided fashion in 2005, ’07 and ‘09. But in a frenzied, late rally at Killeen Castle two years ago, the Euros turned around the final three single matches in the last half hour of the competition to win the most exciting finish in the cup’s history.
“It was probably the best Solheim Cup ever,” USA captain Rosie Jones said.
The Americans have never lost on their home soil. In fact, they’ve trounced the Euros in each of the six Solheim Cups played in the United States by an average score of 14.5 to 10. The Americans have never won by less than three full points at home.
“Obviously, it’s a big challenge,” European captain Liselotte Neumann said after introducing her team Sunday. “I feel like this is really the team that’s going to do it for us.”
Ladbrokes makes the United States a 5/2 favorite to win back the cup. The Americans have some terrific momentum with so many of captain Meg Mallon’s players showing good form with strong finishes at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Stacy Lewis won the championship and was among three Americans in the top 10 and six in the top 20.
“We’re playing on all cylinders right now,” Mallon said.
Next week’s matches take on a whole new look with so many new faces preparing to tee it up.
The Americans will take their youngest team ever into the matches with an average age of 26.3. How young is that? The 2000 team that U.S. captain Meg Mallon played on had an average age of 35.6. Lexi Thompson is the youngest American ever to qualify at 18. She is one four Solheim Cup rookies on the team: Thompson, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller.
The Euros are almost as young with an average age of 27.6. England’s Charley Hull is the youngest Solheim Cup player ever at 17. She’s one of six Solheim Cup rookies on the Euro team.
Here’s a look at the tale of the tape for next week’s matches:
Solheim Cup tale of the tape
|Average world ranking||31.83||39.41|
|Players in world top 10||1||2|
|Players in world top 20||5||3|
|Players in world top 30||7||8|
|Players in world top 50||10||9|
|Solheim Cup rookies||4||6|
|LPGA/LET wins this year||4||4|
|Career LPGA/LET wins||51||49|
|Major championship titles||7||3|
|Total Solheim Cups played||25||17|
|Cumulative Solheim records||43-39-17||32-24-3|