As fortnights in sport go, the subsequent two weeks are enormous for the sport of golf, starting this weekend with the 2023 Solheim Cup.
This yr, for under the second time, the most important workforce occasions in golf, the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup can be performed on reverse weeks.
With the lads duelling at Marco Simone in Rome subsequent weekend, first up, the ladies take the stage for the 18th Solheim Cup on the spectacular Finca Cortesin in Spain.
Europe arrive in Andalusia as reigning champions, seeking to break floor and win the event for the third successive time.
A feat achieved by the US twice earlier than, if Europe retain the well-known crystal trophy as soon as extra they are going to replicate the feat of the European Ryder Cup workforce between each 2002-2006 and 2010-2014.
Pettersen takes the torch
Suppose Solheim Cup royalty and one title springs to thoughts: Suzann Pettersen.
In 2023, after Catriona Matthew led Staff Europe to retain the Solheim Cup for simply the second time two years in the past in Ohio, the Norwegian veteran of 9 Solheim Cups takes her rightful flip to steer.
Successful the trophy 4 occasions, Petterson noticed the early days of the Matthew period and famously sunk the decisive putt over Marina Alex at Gleneagles, sealing a dramatic 14 1⁄2–13 1⁄2 win.
🤩 Staff 🇪🇺 win the Solheim Cup 🤩
All of it got here all the way down to Pettersen’s closing putt 🤯
Staff 🇪🇺 14.5 – 13.5 Staff 🇺🇸
Comply with the stay response to the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles. Watch stay on Sky Sports activities Golf #RiseWithUs https://t.co/BRd1Icp3Uk pic.twitter.com/ZS8tKAKE0n
— Sky Sports activities Golf (@SkySportsGolf) September 15, 2019
A event thought-about the best Solheim, Europe have been underdogs for the final two tournaments, however on house soil, are Pettersen’s fees now the favorite?
Two-thirds of the European workforce have performed in a minimum of two Solheim Cups, while Leona Maguire in simply her second was the star of the present in 2021, remaining unbeaten, because the Cavan native claimed 4 1⁄2 factors.
Celine Boutier is arguably the shape horse of all 24 gamers, coming right here with two wins this summer time, together with the Amundi Evian Championship.
For seasoned Solheim professional Carlota Ciganda, in the meantime, a sixth Solheim Cup on house soil can be an important day having been a part of the final two wins and once more again in 2013.
Staff Europe: Celine Boutier, Maja Stark, Linn Grant, Charley Hull, Carlota Ciganda, Georgia Corridor, Anna Nordqvist, Leona Maguire. Captain picks: Caroline Hedwall, Madelene Sagstrom, Gemma Dryburgh, Emily Pedersen.
Lewis leads US rookie cost
The 2023 version of the Solheim Cup is just not solely a brand new period for Europe, but additionally for Staff USA.
After three tournaments skippered by Juli Inkster, defeat at Gleneagles in 2019 then noticed Pat Hurst take the baton for the People.
Following her aspect struggling their very own slim 15-13 defeat on house soil for simply the second time in Ohio, Stacy Lewis takes up the captaincy, with a fresh-looking US workforce.
The 38-year-old, a two-time main winner herself, Lewis received the Girls’s Open in 2013 and hopes to convey her expertise on European soil to Spain.
Lewis performed in 4 successive Solheim Cups between 2011 and 2017 and tasted Staff victory twice, nevertheless, solely received 5 of 16 profession matches.
The US are spearheaded by Solheim regulars Nelly Korda – boasting a powerful 68% win ratio – Danielle Kang, Megan Khang and Lexi Thompson – the latter, her sixth competitors.
Nevertheless, 5 of the 12 are debutantes, together with two-time main winner this season, Lilia Vu, and captain’s decide and winner in Michigan in July, Cheyenne Knight.
Staff USA: Lilia Vu, Nelly Korda, Allisen Corpuz, Megan Khang, Jennifer Kupcho, Danielle Kang, Andrea Lee, Lexi Thompson, Rose Zhang. Captain picks: Ally Ewing, Cheyenne Knight, Angel Yin.
In contrast to in earlier years – on paper – one solely must look on the Rolex World Rankings to see that Solheim 2023 is a extra stage enjoying subject.
The US have a comparatively paltry 4 gamers inside the highest 15, with Europe retaining three.
If we delve into the stats, six of Europe’s returning eight from two years in the past maintain a profitable match share of fifty% or extra; for the US returning seven, simply 4.
Bringing into consideration latest European dominance, house turf benefit and the numbers, the hosts are nonetheless a really first rate 10/11 with BoyleSports, with Linn Grant 11/10 with Betfred to be Prime-Scoring European Rookie.