Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Solheim Cup Preview

We are just a few days away from the playing of the Solheim Cup, which will be held in Parker Colorado. The U.S. team will be trying to take back the cup they lost in 2011 by a 15-13 score. Just 2 years later, the teams have a very different look. Let's take a look at the 2013 rosters.

United States
1- Christie Kerr - With the absence of Julie Inkster, Christie is now the veteran on this team. This will be her 7th appearance. Her past performances in Solheim Cup play have been mediocre at best. Her record in singles play matches is 1-4-1, while her overall record is 11-12-3.

2- Paula Creamer - This will be Paula's 5th appearance, and her past results have been nothing short of spectacular. A player that rises to the occasion more times than not, her overall record is 11-3-5, which includes a 3-1-0 mark in singles play.

3- Angela Stanford - This will also be Angela's 5th appearance. Her record of 3-7-3 is by far the worst of any player on the current team. She will have to play much better than that, to bring the cup back to the U.S.

4- Morgan Pressel - Morgan has been playing her best golf in quite a while over the last several weeks. This will be her 4th SC appearance. Known for coming through in clutch situations, she carries a 7-2-2 record into this year's event. She is also undefeated in singles matches with a 3-0-0 record.

5- Brittany Lincicome - Brittany has been playing poorly for over a year now. Her 4-6-1 record in her first 3 appearances, which includes 1-2-0 in singles matches, tells me she might be a weak link. Look for captain Meg Mallon to play her only once a day.

6- Brittany Lang - Brittany will be making her third SC appearance. She brings a 2-3-2 record to this event. A streaky player, Brittany needs to step up and contribute some key points this year.

7- Michelle Wie - She would not have been my pick, as her play over the last 2 years has been mediocre at best. That doesn't mean she doesn't have the ability to step up and be a big factor. She has done it before, as her 4-3-1 record would attest.

8- Stacy Lewis - Stacy is currently the #2 ranked player in the world, and without a doubt the Americans' best player. Her first SC in 2011 was quite awful. Her overall record was 1-3-0, and lost her very important singles match on Sunday. The question here is can she join Paula and Morgan as the backbone of this team? Look for her to do just that.

9- Lizette Salas - One of four SC rookies, Lizette's play has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise. She has not played well on Sundays when she has had a chance to win. How she will hold up under pressure of which she has never experienced before, remains to be seen. A real wild card.

10- Lexi Thompson - Lexi becomes the youngest player ever to play on an American SC team. One of the real bright young stars on the LPGA, look for her to hold her own and then some.

11- Jessica Korda - In spite of a bad wrist, Jessica has played well all year. Has all the skills to dominate an opponent. A real dark horse here, I look for Jessica to pick up some vital points for the U.S. team.

12- Gerina Piller - A very deserving captain's pick, Gerina has 5 top ten finishes this year. Like Lizette Salas, only time will tell how she stands up to the intense pressure.

Gone from the 2011 team: Ryann O'Toole, Christina Kim, Vicki Hurst, Juli Inkster.
Replaced with: Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda,  Gerina Piller.

Europe:
1- Suzann Pettersen - The best player on the European team, Suzann led her team to victory in 2011. This will be her 7th SC appearance, and she has a very impressive 12-8-5 record. She is only 1-3-2 in singles play. Needs to be the leader both on and off the course if Europe is to have any chance to retain the cup.

2- Catriona Matthew - Catriona will also be making her 7th SC appearance. Not as vocal or flashy as Suzann, all she does is get the job done. She has been almost unbeatable in singles play with a 5-1 record. Overall her record is a healthy 12-7-6.

3- Anna Nordqvist - Anna has a 4-4-0 record in her first 2 SC outings. She has yet to win a singles match.
A very streaky player, she will have to perform better this year.

4- Azahara Munoz- Azahara has not played well all year. She did play well in her first SC experience in 2011, posting a 2-1-1 record and winning her singles match. Like Brittany Lincicome on the American team, she might be a reason for concern.

5- Karine Icher - Karine did not fair very well in her first SC appearance, going 1-2 and losing her singles match. A very solid player, she can be a difference maker if she plays up to her capabilities.

6- Caroline Hedwall - Caroline played well in her first SC appearance in 2011, posting a 2-1-1 mark. She also won a very important point in singles competition. She needs a repeat performance this year to keep her team in contention.

7- Beatriz Recari - One of 6 rookies on this year's European team, Beatriz has won twice already this year on the LPGA. Has developed into a very solid player. Has been in quite a few pressure situations this year, so don't expect her to crack.

8- Jodi Ewert-Shadoff - Quietly having a fine season, Jodi will feel pressure of which she has never experienced before. Can she hold up? Time will tell.

9, 10, 11 - Giulia Sergas, Carlotta Ciganda, Caroline Masson - All good players who have had some success on the LPGA tour this year. These players are all SC rookies and need to play beyond expectations for team Europe to be successful.

12- Charlie Hull - At 17 years old, Charlie will be the youngest SC player ever. A very talented player, but lacks experience. Expect her to play just once a day.

Gone from 2011 team: Sophie Gustafson, Christel Boeljon, Laura Davies, Mel Reid, Maria Hjorth, Karen Stupples, Sandra Gal

Replaced with: Carlotta Ciganda, Beatriz Recari, Caroline Masson, Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, Giulia Sergas, Karine Icher, Charlie Hull.

Prediction:

The U.S. team will take back the cup by a score of 15 1/2 to 12 1/2. Here are the reasons why:

1- The U.S players are much more experienced, as their players have a combined total of 43 previous SC wins to 32 for Europe. Six European rookies will be too much for them to overcome.

2- Although this European team is very solid, it will have a hard time making up for Sophie Gustafson's 4-0-0 record in 2011.

3- The thin air in Colorado will be a blessing for the long hitters. The European team can not match the length of the likes of Thompson, Korda, Lincicome, Wie and Piller.

4- The U.S. has never lost as host of a Solheim Cup event. Look for it to stay that way.

Be sure to check back here daily, for updates and results.

Update #1 - Here are the Friday morning pairings. (Europe leads 3-1))
Update #2 - Here are the Friday afternoon pairings (Europe Now Leads 5-3)
Update #3 - Here are Saturday morning pairings     (Europe now leads 6 1/2 - 5 1/2)
Update #4 - Here are Saturday afternoon pairings.  (Europe now leads 10 1/2 - 5 1/2)
Update #5 - Here are Sundays Singles pairings
Other LPGA Tidbits

Karrie Webb's amazing cut streak came to an abrupt end at the British Open. She had made 57 consecutive cuts. Paula Creamer leads the tour with 59.

Stacy Lewis's British Open victory was her 12th top ten finish of the year. No one else has more than eight.

Yani Tseng has now missed 4 cuts in a row, and has fallen all the way down to #14 in the Rolex Rankings.

Ai Miyazato will have only one more chance this year to get that elusive first major championship victory. She is currently 0 for 36.

Titleholders Update:
Natalie Gulbis, Nicole Castrale, and Pernilla Lindberg are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked player yet to qualify.






2 comments:

  1. That's a very comprehensive and fair judgment of the competition, but what about the course? I have a feeling that the Europeans will embrace the course and the result will be even closer than you predict. I'm just glad the gals are getting their due on TV and very much looking forward to 3 couch-filled days of beautiful play and excitement. DBL

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  2. Agree! Nice to read because you've been fair to the golfers in the competition. Good Job!

    ReplyDelete