Teams Starting to Gel


EDINA, Minn. -- With the second practice day behind them, captains Dale Reid and Patty Sheehan, along with respective co-captains Pam Wright and Jane Geddes, looked surprisingly relaxed.
Both captains gave indications that their teams, each made up of almost half rookies, were enjoying the Solheim Cup experience at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn., near Minneapolis.
The golf course is beautiful, Rosie Jones said. Its in great shape, greens are very ' going to be very tricky as far as hitting the ball into the green and you just have to be below the hole to play this golf course well.
There are some greens that its hard to keep it below the hole, so the putting is difficult, like Rosie said, Beth Daniels agreed.
Short game will make all the difference between winning and loosing a point on the Donald Ross-designed greens at Interlachen. Positioning the ball below the hole will be imperative.
You may see a few people look silly on the greens this week, but thats Donald Ross. Daniels continued.
The American team, in particular, looked exceedingly relaxed mid-week. Perhaps it was due to the patriotic 'barf bags' provided to each team member by staunch supporter Dottie Pepper. More likely it was due to the strength and comaraderie Sheehans team has found within.
Sheehans team will be a difficult force to stop ' especially on American soil and no one echoed this more than Laura Davies.
I think I would probably give the Americans a slight favorite because of a home advantage,' European Solheim Cup veteran Davies said while continuing to exude confidence about her team's chances. I think if you pair up the teams, Annika (Sorenstam) aside - because I think anyone playing against Annika has got their work cut out - because thats been true throughout.
Obviously, some players have been more consistent this year, but in the match play forum that we have got this week, we can all beat each other on any given day, so I really do think its going to be a very close match and it wouldnt surprise me if it comes down to the last thing on Sunday afternoon.
Davies indicated that the team would be looking to Sorenstam to win four points. Teammate Helen Alfredsson, considered by many to be the best match player in the world, backed that up and is confident that her fellow Swede can live up to the expectations.
We just have to make sure that she is happy and playing her best game, Alfredsson said of Sorenstam.
Davies has played in every Solheim Cup since inception. Its, without a doubt, the most enjoyable event we play, once we get going, Davies said in mid-week.
I have to say, the start of the week is a bit slow, practice rounds, you just seem to always be doing something, we were just talking about it on the way down, and its something, its part of the week, but its not the most enjoyable,' she said. 'The most enjoyable is when the gun goes off, and I think some of the new players to the team find that side of it quite hard.
So me, as a veteran on the team, just tell them to enjoy it because it really is, win or lose, its the most enjoyable week every two years, so that would be my advice to them.
While the Europeans are counting on Alfredsson and Davies to help the rookies through the week, the Americans are counting on Juli Inkster. Im far from the leader here, Inkster joked. These guys tell me what to wear.
You know, we had a lot of rookies on this team, but we have a lot of veterans, too, and I think everybody is chipping in, and I think thats the way it should be.
With one practice day left, the clock is ticking for both Sheehan and Reid to submit their parings. I can honestly say, I am not close at all at the moment, Captain Reid said. I am still another practice day to go, I want to see how everybody else is, I am still chatting a lot to my players, so, you know, obviously, I have to get the team in on the time required, but hopefully Pam and myself will come up with the right choice.
I pretty much have a good idea of who I am putting with whom, and feel pretty good about it, Sheehan confidently said of her team. The way I look at it, I dont really have any bad parings, so I have got 12 players and I could basically throw up balls, like you do on the first tee, and whoever's ball goes next to who is a pretty good pairing.