DALY CITY, Calif. – The stakes are ratcheting up for the American Solheim Cup team.
Captain Juli Inkster invited 16 potential members to join her for their first outing together this week. She took them to CordeValle Golf Club, an hour south of San Francisco, to play and plot some strategy for the Sept. 18-20 matches in Germany.
“With the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle, I thought they might like to go down there and get a head start,” Inkster said. “We had a nice dinner there, made our own pizzas, and then we just kind of hung out. We played some pingpong, had some cocktails.”
If you’re wondering which 16 players Inkster invited, look at the Solheim Cup standings (below). She said she invited the top 16 in points.
“It was the fairest way,” Inkster said.
Assistant captains Pat Hurst and Wendy Ward were also there.
Stacy Lewis, the top American point earner, said the outing set the stage nicely for the five-month run-up to the event.
“It definitely gets it on our minds,” Lewis said. “Juli gave us some things to think about, some things to work on going forward. You can tell she’s excited. It’s going to be here before we know it. That was really the only practice session we will have before that week.”
The Europeans have won the last two Solheim Cups. They thrashed the Americans two years ago at the Colorado Golf Club in a record rout. Inkster believes the Americans have been too tight in recent Solheim Cups.
“I want to get across that we need to play our best golf to beat them, and the last couple years we haven’t done that,” Inkster said. “We just need to get back to playing golf and not worrying about the other stuff.”
Lewis said Inkster wants the Americans to approach the week more like they do a week on tour.
“Her big thing is we’re just going to play golf, because if we play our best golf, we will win,” Lewis said. “That’s what she is trying to get in our heads. She’s asking us a lot of questions, like who we want to play with. She wants us to be comfortable so we can just play our best golf. And she’s been asking what we do in a normal week. She wants to take that to the Solheim Cup.”
U.S. Solheim Cup Standings
1 Stacy Lewis, 823.5
2 Lexi Thompson, 495.5
3 Michelle Wie, 430.5.
4 Brittany Lincicome, 355.
5 Cristie Kerr, 337.5.
6 Angela Stanford, 269.5.
7 Jessica Korda, 259.
8 Paula Creamer, 219.
9 Lizette Salas, 216.5.
10 Gerina Piller, 213.5.
11 Morgan Pressel, 206.5.
12 Brittany Lang, 174.
13 Mo Martin, 155.
14 Austin Ernst, 136.
15 Christina Kim, 132.
16 Jennifer Johnson, 88.
* The top eight in points automatically qualify for the 12-woman team. Plus, the top two players from the Rolex Women’s World Rankings not already qualified by points make it. The final two spots on the team are captain’s picks. Points are earned based on top-20 finishes in tournaments. First place is worth 60 points, second is worth 30, third is 28.5 with points awarded down to 3 points for 20th place. Points are double at the majors.