American camaraderie alive and well in Sugar Grove

By Rich LernerAugust 19, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Solheim CupSUGAR GROVE, Ill. ' Christina Kim makes Lee Trevino look shy.
 
After chattering her way through a practice session of mostly hard draws at Rich Harvest Farms, she bounded to the end of the range and bumped into the enemy.
 
Kim and Suzann Pettersen immediately locked arms, and like a couple Rockettes, kicked their feet out and began comparing golf shoes.
 
David Leadbetter, working with Michelle Wie nearby, watched in amusement. Not the sort of stuff they talk about at the Ryder Cup, he said with a laugh.
 
Can you imagine men decorating toilet seat covers in American flags? Didnt think so, but the gals dont miss a patriotic beat. Their walls are plastered with quotes from famous Americans, like Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights. If you ain't first, youre last, he reasoned.
 
Inside the team room, Wie, by all accounts, has become quite popular. Theyre calling her 'Shelly' because thats what happens when youre on a team. You get a nickname. And when you bust it 270 yards off the tee and average four birdies per round you also get players lined up to be your partner. Players are volunteering to team up with Michelle, said Kelly Robbins, an assistant captain.
 
Morgan Pressel might be first. The two teed it up Wednesday, a blend of power and precision. Once rivals, Pressel and Wie are now friends. At one time, said Herb Krickstein, Morgans grandfather and adviser, Morgan said a few things that were probably true, that Michelle needed to prove herself and earn her way. And Michelles done that.
 
Strange, Wie wasnt even born by the time Juli Inkster had won the third of her seven majors. At 49, Julis the oldest to ever play in the Solheim Cup. She spoke to the U.S. team Tuesday night at the Turf Room in Aurora. It was emotional, said Robbins. She spoke about what a privilege and honor it is to be a part of the team and reminded the younger players to savor the moment because you dont know when it might come your way again.
 
Beth Daniel, the captain, gave each team member a David Yurman necklace. The players gave their captain, purely by happy coincidence, a David Yurman ring.
 
Were like best of friends, said Kim. All these different personalities and backgrounds come together to form almost a brigade. And were going to battle together.
 
With that, Kim hustled over to the practice green. Before long, another circle of young American players gathered, laughing and chatting and only occasionally putting.
 
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    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

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    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

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    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

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