Bear with me, I’m going to become a Solheim Cup bore for the next week or so, but how can I not chat about the most anticipated women’s golf tournament of the year. I’m kicking off the Golf Monthly live blog on Friday morning at 6am. It will be an intense 3 hours covering the morning foursomes, but I will love it!
Well done to the European team who has retained the Ping Junior Solheim Cup after clinching their first victory in 2021, ending a streak dating back to 2007, which narrowed the scoreline to 7.5-3.5. Great to see so much support there for them and a great way to get the week started especially with a win for Europe. It’s amazing to see what a great breeding ground this event has become for future stars – 10 out of the 12 European players and 6 in the US team for this year’s Solheim Cup have previously competed in the Ping Junior Solheim Cup and five have gone on to become Major champions – Georgia Hall, Anna Nordqvist, Celine Boutier, Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson.
Ireland’s Leona Maguire competed twice in the junior event in 2009 and 2011 alongside her sister Lisa. When I interviewed Leona recently she said that one of the wonderful things about the Junior Solheim Cup is that you get to stay on to support the senior team, how it feels like only yesterday that she was dressed up with full face paint and carrying flags, and how special it is now to be on the other side receiving that support.
There is something very special about team events, probably because golf is usually such an isolated sport – just you and your game versus the course and the elements. There are players up and down the country that have won through to the final rounds of club and regional team competitions, and although on a different scale to the Solheim Cup, these players will be experiencing similar emotions when they put their team colours on.
First off, I wouldn’t want to be a Captain, all those difficult decisions to make, who is going to perform best for the team, who do you drop? Unfortunately, someone will always be left feeling disappointed. Then there’s the person or pairing that leads the team out, the pressure is on to score that all-important first point. You can tell yourself over and over again that there is no ‘i’ in team, but if you lose, you feel responsible.
The camaraderie and sense of togetherness is the best part. I’m sure many of you will relate to how you get to know fellow players better through traveling to matches and post-match gatherings. If it is a team event, you might not have played with that person on a regular basis before, but become an unlikely dream partnership. Win or lose, a bond is created that is unique to that team.
I’m really looking forward to Friday morning and cannot wait to hear the chants and atmosphere on the 1st tee at Finca Cortesin. Apologies in advance, I might be chatting about the Solheim Cup next week too!
Image coutesy of Ladies European Tour