Only three more tournaments remain for the U.S. players to get themselves into position to qualify for the 2013 Solheim Cup, which will be played this year at the Colorado Club in Parker, Colorado. Players started accumulating points at the completion of the last Solheim Cup, in 2011.
The United States has changed the qualifications for entry. In previous years it was the top ten players who accumulated the most points, and then two captain's picks. They have now changed that to the top eight players off the points list, the 2 highest Rolex ranked players not already in, and 2 captain's picks.
Points are accumulated the following way:
(From the first event after the previous Solheim Cup match in 2011 through the end of the 2012 season)
Winner - 40 points, 2nd - 20 points, 3rd - 18 points, 4th - 17 points, all the way down to 20th - 2 points.
(The 2013 season tournaments, leading up to the Solheim match)
Winner - 60 points, 2nd - 30 points, 3rd - 28.5 points, 4th - 27 points, 5th - 25.5 points, all the way down to a 20th place finish worth 3 points.
The reason for the increased points for the last part of the term is to give an advantage to the players who are hot going into the match.
Points are doubled for major championships.
With many players fighting to get into a position to make the team, lets look at where they stand.
Here are the top 8 Solheim Cup point leaders as of today:
1- Stacy Lewis - 810.5 points
2- Paula Creamer - 496.5
3- Cristie Kerr - 484.6
4- Angela Stanford - 351
5- Brittany Lincicome - 269
6- Jessica Korda - 235.5
7- Lexi Thompson - 232.5
8- Brittany Lang - 226
The above 8 players would make the team on points.
9 - Lizette Salas - 174
10- Morgan Pressel - 164.5
11- Jennifer Johnson - 153.5
12- Michelle Wie - 151.5
13- Gerina Piller - 150
The above 5 players would fail to qualify via the point system.
Here are the highest Rolex Ranked players that would not have already qualified:
1- Lizette Salas - #18
2- Morgan Pressel - #51
The above 2 players would make the team via the Rolex Rankings.
3- Jennifer Johnson - #56
4- Gerina Piller - #60
5- Nicole Castrale - #73
6- Danielle Kang - #74
7- Mo Martin - #79
8- Michelle Wie - #84
The above 6 players would fall short of making the team via the Rolex Rankings.
That is a very different look from the 2011 team. Thompson, Korda, and Salas would be Solheim Cup rookies.
Now is where it gets even more interesting. Captain Meg Mallon will have to choose 2 players to add to the team. In a Golf Channel interview earlier in the season, she seemed to make it clear that with at least 3 rookies already on the team, she would be leaning towards experienced veterans.
Here is my thinking on who the picks should be: I disagree that her picks have to be experienced players. What experienced players are playing well and deserve to be picked? With Stacy, Paula, Cristie, Angela, Morgan, and the Brittany's on the team, it already has plenty of veterans with Solheim experience. I say just pick the players that are playing well.
1- Pick Gerina Piller. This is a no-brainer! Gerina already has a top 5, two top tens, and 5 top 20 finishes this year. Her massive length off the tee would serve the U.S. well.
2- The second pick is much more difficult, as no other player has really stepped up. Cristina Kim has proven to be a leader, but has not played well for a number of years now. Michelle Wie, with two top tens last month does deserve some consideration, but I would take Jennifer Johnson as my second pick. Jennifer, although she hasn't played great as of late, broke through for her first victory this year and has contended a couple of other times.
To sum this up: Gone from the 2011 team would be Vicki Hurst, Christina Kim, Julie Inkster, Ryann O'Toole, and Michelle Wie.
They would be replaced by Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas, Gerina Piller, and Jennifer Johnson.
I sure like that 2013 team better than the team the U.S. fielded in 2011. What do you think?