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Solheim Cup Preview - Can Team USA Successfully Defend Their Title?

The LPGA takes a break from its normal tournament schedule for the playing of the 2017 Solheim Cup.

Image result for 2017 solheim cup

History:
The Solheim Cup is a biennial golf tournament for professional women golfers contested by players from the United States and Europe. It is named after the Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer Karsten Solheim, who was a driving force behind its creation.

The inaugural cup was held in 1990, and the event was staged in even numbered years until 2002, alternating years with the Ryder Cup (the equivalent men's event between the USA & Europe). Because of the attacks of September 11th 2001, forcing the postponement of the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup was switched to odd numbered years in 2003.

Qualifying for Entry:  (USA)
1- A player must finish in the top 8 on the Solheim Cup points list.
2- The top 2 players in the Rolex Rankings that have not already qualified.
3- Two captain's picks.

Points are accumulated the following way:
(From the first event after the previous Solheim Cup match in 2015 through the end of the 2016 season)
Winner - 40 points, 2nd - 20 points, 3rd - 18 points, 4th - 17 points, all the way down to 20th - 2 points.
(The 2017 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.


Qualifying for Entry:  (Europe)
1- A player must finish in the top 4 on the LET  Solheim points list.
2- The top 4 players from the Rolex Rankings that have not already qualified.
3- Four captain's picks.

The event is played over three days. Since 2002, they play 28 matches - eight foursomes, eight four balls, and twelve singles matches.

Of the previous 14 matches, the USA has won nine, and Europe has won five. Team USA will be trying to defend the title they won in 2015, when they made the biggest comeback in Solheim Cup history! Trailing 10 points to 6 going into the singles matches on Sunday (Team Europe just needed 14 points to successfully defend the title), team USA took 8 1/2 of the 12 points available that day to go on to a 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 victory.

Image result for usa wins 2015 solheim cup
Team USA will be trying to defend the title they won in 2015, when they made the biggest comeback in Solheim Cup history.

Returning as captain this year for Team USA will be Juli Inkster. Annika Sorenstam will be the captain for Team Europe.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Des Moines Golf and Country Club
Location:  West Des Moines, Iowa
Defending Champion:  Team USA
Winning Score:  14 1/2 to 13 1/2

Final Field:  24 players
Par: 72
Yardage:  6,894
Purse:  This one is for pride!

Here are the teams:  (Solheim records in parenthesis)

Team USA:
Lexi Thompson  (3-2-2)
Stacy Lewis  (4-7-1)
Gerina Piller  (3-2-2)
Cristie Kerr  (15-14-5)
Danielle Kang  (Solheim rookie)
Michelle Wie  (7-7-1)
Brittany Lang  (5-6-3)
Brittany Lincicome (5-11-2)
Lizette Salas  (1-3-2)
Austin Ernst  (Solheim rookie)
Angel Yin (Solheim & LPGA rookie)
Paula Creamer (14-8-5)
     Totals  = 57-60-23 


Team Europe:
Georgia Hall   (Solheim rookie)
Florentyna Parker  (Solheim Rookie)
Mel Reid  (4-3-1)
Jodi Ewart Shadoff  (2-1-0)
Carlota Ciganda  (4-1-2)
Suzann Pettersen  (16-11-6)
Charley Hull  (6-2-0)
Karine Icher  (5-4-1)
Anna Nordqvist  (8-7-1)
Caroline Masson  (2-3-2)
Emily Pedersen (Solheim & LPGA rookie)
Madelene Sagstrom - (Solheim & LPGA rookie)
    Totals = 47-32-13

My Prediction:
Predicting this one is always very difficult. Last year I predicted team USA to win 14 1/2 to 13 1/2, and that was exactly how it turned out. This year team Europe will have revenge as a motive, but team USA will have the home field advantage. I think team USA appears stronger and has more depth. But the players on the 2017 team Europe squad have won 59.5% of their previous matches compared to just 48.7% for team USA.

 Look for team USA to hold their own the first 2 days in couples play (where they always struggle), and have the edge on Sunday. This time I dont think it will be as close. Team USA will win by a score of 15 1/2 to 12 1/2.

Here are the television times:
August 18 - GC - 9:00 AM-2:00 PM ET
August 18 - GC - 4:00 PM-7:00PM ET
August 19 - GC - 8:00 AM-4:00 PM ET 
August 19 - NBC - 4:00 PM-6:00 PM ET 
August 20 - GC - 12:00 PM-4:00 PM ET 
August 20 - NBC - 4:00 PM-6:00 PM ET 

Other Tidbits:

This Week's Trivia Question: (for those who missed it earlier)

When and where was the first Solheim Cup held?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

UPDATE #1 -  Suzann Pettersen has withdrawn and has been replaced by Catriona Matthew who has a 15-10-8 Solheim record).

UPDATE #2 - Team USA has a 5 1/2 to 2 1/2 lead after day 1

UPDATE #3 - Team USA has a 10 1/2 to 5 1/2 lead after day 2

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates. They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog.  Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.



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