Countdown to the Cup


The countdown is on to the Solheim Cup, but will Europe be able to bring a battle to the Americans at Rich Harvest Farms?
With Annika Sorenstam gone and Laura Davies coming into the twilight years of her career, will there be a lack of firepower for the Euros in August?
Rolex Rankings (as of Jun. 28, 2009)

1. Suzann Pettersen 6

2. Helen Alfredsson 10

3. Anna Nordqvist 24

4. Maria Hjorth 29

5. Karen Stupples 41

6. Sophie Gustafson 48

7. Catriona Matthew 62

European Points List (as of Jun. 28, 2009)

1.Gwladys Nocera 200.50

2. Tania Elosegui 117.00

3. Laura Davies 115.17

4. Martina Eberl 114.65

5. Melissa Reid 105.88

6. Marianne Skarpnord 97.12
The Europeans select their team from two lists. Five players come from a European points list, computed by results from Ladies European Tour events and majors and then four are selected from the Rolex Womens World Rankings. The European list takes precedence, with captain Alison Nicholas finishing the 12 woman side with three wildcard selections.
Other names to consider for possible captains selections would be Paula Marti, Lisa Hall, Rebecca Hudson and Minea Blomqvist. Germanys Sandra Gal would not be eligible as she is not a member of the LET.
When you look at these lists, there may be some names that seem unfamiliar. No doubt you would have seen the players from the Rolex Rankings on the LPGA but those from the European Points List, minus Laura Davies, play all of their golf on the LET. This creates a somewhat unknown factor for U.S. captain Beth Daniel and her team, an unknown factor that could create a false sense of security.
Nocera was number one on the Henderson Global Investors money list in Europe last season. Elosegui has had a win and second place in the past month. Eberl is a four-time winner on the LET and Melissa Reid is a very promising 21-year-old Englishwoman who is knocking on the door for her first victory.
The Europeans have the U.S. Womens Open and four LET events remaining before selections are made following the Ricoh Womens British Open. Two of those events are co-sanctioned with the LPGA Tour (Evian Masters and Ricoh) and it will be those two tournaments that will prove vital for both captains in seeing how their players are shaping up. Itll be the first time this season that all the Solheim Cup players will be in the same field. Those two events, plus the U.S. Womens Open will offer additional points, so they will be pivotal in deciding who gets to represent their country. At present, only Nocera, Pettersen and Alfredsson are guaranteed a place on the side.
There is no doubt that the Europeans will need to play very well in order to capture victory at Rich Harvest Farms. The Americans have firepower in Kerr, Creamer, Stanford and recently, Kristy McPherson. If the teams were set today, the Europeans would need to rely heavily on the rookies. The Euros would bring at least four, possibly five with a wildcard. Three of those rookies, Eberl, Reid and Elosegui, have hardly any professional experience, except for the Q-School on American soil. Captain Nicholas will hope that ignorance is bliss when they enter the Solheim Cup cauldron.
A fascinating five weeks remain before the teams are set. Im looking forward to reporting from both Evian and Royal Lytham as the clock ticks down to the final composition of the teams.
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