The U.S. team, captained by LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Fame member Patty Sheehan, is looking to defend its come-from-behind victory of a year ago, while the Catrin Nilsmark-led European squad is aiming for it 'ssecond-straight Solheim Cup victory in Europe.
The 6,518-yard Barsebck Golf and Country Club is the stage for the battle, which begins Friday with morning foursomes matches and afternoon fourball play. More foursomes and fourball action continues on Saturday, and the quest for the Cup culminates with the 12 singles matches on Sunday.
The U.S. team is led by six-time Solheim Cup veterans Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon, as well as four-time U.S. team member Juli Inkster, who was the top American points earner for 2003. Five-time U.S. team members Rosie Jones and Kelly Robbins are also on the squad, followed by Michele Redman, who is making her third straight appearance.
Four other members of the victorious 2002 team ' Laura Diaz, Cristie Kerr, Kelli Kuehne and Wendy Ward ' are also making the trip to Sweden for the three-day event. Solheim Cup rookies Heather Bowie and Angela Stanford complete the 12-member squad that is looking to run the U.S. teams lead in the all-time Solheim Cup series to 6-2.
For the Europeans, world No. 1 and native Swede Annika Sorenstam leads the way, along with Englands Laura Davies, who has played in all seven previous stagings of the event. Davies is the events all-time points leader with 16, while Sorenstam has earned 13.5 points in her previous five appearances.
Swedens Sophie Gustafson, fresh off back-to-back wins in Europe, is making her fourth appearance on the European squad, along with Carin Koch of Sweden, who owns an undefeated 7-0-1 record in her two previous Solheim Cups. Making their second straight appearance on the European Team are Scotlands Mhairi McKay, Norways Suzanne Pettersen and Denmarks Iben Tinning.
Catriona Matthew is competing as a member of the European squad for the first time since 1998, while Frances Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Scotlands Janice Moodie return after holding down spots on the 2000 team that was victorious in Scotland. First-timers Elisabeth Esterl of Germany and Ana B. Sanchez of Spain round out Nilsmarks 12-member team.
The U.S. team staged a thrilling come-from-behind victory at Interlachen Country Club near Minneapolis, Minn., in 2002, winning the Cup back from the Europeans, 15 1/2-12 1/2. This years event will be televised live by The Golf Channel, and the competition will be shown live in its entirety for the first time ever.
The Solheim Cup is a biennial, trans- Atlantic team match-play competition featuring the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA Tour and the best European- born players from the Evian Ladies European Tour (LET).
The U.S. team leads the competition, 5-2, but Europe has won two of the three events held overseas.
Editor's Note: The Solheim Cup will air exclusively on The Golf Channel beginning Friday, September 12th