ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon says the American team picture is becoming a lot more wide open than she imagined it could be going into the weekend at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Going to St. Andrews, Mallon pretty much had the American team picture down to 13 players for the 12 rosters spots, but she said unpredictable world rankings math is opening the team up to more possibilities.
“The world ranking scenarios have brought seven or eight more players into this than, honestly, I thought were in it,” Mallon said. “That makes it very interesting and challenging this weekend.”
The top eight Americans on the U.S. Solheim Cup points standings automatically make the team. The top two Americans in the Rolex world rankings who aren’t already qualified also make the team. The teams will be announced about two hours after the conclusion of the Women’s British Open.
Mallon met with Rolex world rankings officials in St. Andrews this week to decipher who needed to finish where to earn a roster spot off the rankings list. To her surprise, world rankings math offers potentially giant leaps in a major.
If the team were chosen today, Lizette Salas (No. 20) would grab the first roster spot available off the rankings list. Jennifer Johnson (No. 50) would grab the second, but there’s a fierce battle for that last rankings spot with Morgan Pressel (No. 51) just three hundredths of a point behind Johnson. Gerina Piller is also in the mix at No. 55.
If the points standings didn't change, that pretty much looked like how the race for the world-ranking roster spots were boiling down, until Rolex rankings officials started running the numbers. It turns out Mo Martin (No. 73), Danielle Kang (No. 74), Nicole Castrale (No. 77), Michelle Wie (No. 80), Mina Harigae (No. 87) and Irene Cho (No. 92) are all mathematically in the running with strong finishes this week.
In an odd bit of world rankings math, Mallon said she learned that if Pressel and Castrale both finished T-5 this week, Castrale would move ahead of Pressel in the world rankings. That’s odd given Pressel is No. 51 in the world and Castrale is No. 77. Castrale would benefit because of her more favorable divisor in events played.
While Salas looked like she was a lock to make the team off the rankings, Mallon said there are scenarios where even she could get bumped.
Notably, Castrale started the second round tied for third and Kang tied for 10th.