Get Ready Its Solheim Time:
What a way to head into a Solheim Cup. With just one week to go before attention turns to Halmstad in Sweden for the 10th playing of the matches, it seems those players involved are in fine form. Hosting the LPGA golf on Sunday I was routed to my seat as Sherri Steinhauer holed from off the green for a par at the last and a one-shot victory at the State Farm Classic. Not to be forgotten, on the other side of the Atlantic, Germanys Bettina Hauert survived making an 8 on her first hole to come through and win the Finnair Masters on the LET. Hauert is one of three rookies for the Europeans and with her second win of the season she moved into the No. 1 position on the New Star Money List in Europe.
The top 10 at the State Farm Classic contained five Solheim Cup players, three Americans and two Europeans. Six Europeans are scheduled to play this week, two in the United States and the rest at the Nykredit Masters on the LET; however, nine US players will tee-it up at the NW Arkansas Championship, a decision I dont wholly agree with. It seems to me with such an important week ahead, players would be better served resting rather than playing and flying across to Europe immediately after.
And then theres the Christina Kim saga. Kim missed automatic qualification despite finishing as a runner-up at the last counting event. Many believed shed be a captains pick, but Betsy King chose Nicole Castrale and Laura Diaz. Kim then went on finish just one shot shy of Steinhauer last week. Kim told the GOLF CHANNEL, I respect Betsys choice but Im still not happy with it; pointing out, though, that she (Kim) really only has herself to blame. Its a very difficult situation; on one hand Kim is a fiery competitor whos obviously showing good form, but Castrale is a winner in 2007, something Kim is not, and I think more importantly, Castrale fits in with the King mentally. Betsy is a complete opposite from Christina Kim and I think that played a huge factor in her omission from the side.
2014 Ryder Cup Frustration:
In 2014 the Ryder Cup visits Gleneagles, site of last weeks Johnnie Walker Championship. But instead of being played on the historic Kings and Queens layouts itll be played on the PGA Centenary Course. This decision is already causing quite a stir. Earlier this week Darren Clarke made some comments expressing his disappointment that the matches will be played on the Centenary Course rather than one of Scotlands many other historic venues, saying it was beyond (his) comprehension.
Having played the PGA Centenary Course myself, I must say I agree with Clarke. Scotland has such a rich history in our game and to choose a venue which really doesnt come close to matching the great links and inland venues the country has to offer is very disappointing for golf fans especially in Scotland. It is, of course, down to one thing: money. In years past, clubs would actually receive money for hosting the matches, but now thats not the case; a Ryder Cup will cost you, a lot. Money and commerce is a huge factor in where a venue will go, and in a competition that doesnt pay any prize money I think its sad that such a magnificent sporting spectacle has in many respects sold itself out, to its detriment.
Tom Abbott will host live coverage of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship on Sky Digital Channel 423, beginning on Friday at 5:30pm UK time.
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