Five Things to Know About the Solheim Cup | LPGA

by Joanne Miller

The 2023 Solheim Cup is finally here, and fans of women’s golf are in for a treat. The competition, which features two teams from the U.S. and Europe, will be led by LPGA legends Stacy Lewis and Suzann Pettersen. Over the course of three days, these 12-player teams will battle it out in various match formats to win the crystal trophy and bring honor to their respective countries.

The Solheim Cup has traditionally been dominated by the United States, with the Americans holding a historical edge of 10-7 over Team Europe. However, this year’s competition promises to be closer than ever. While the U.S. has won three consecutive Solheim Cups twice in the past, they haven’t touched the trophy since 2017. On the other hand, Europe has won back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2021 and now has a chance to achieve their first-ever three-peat. With key members returning from those winning teams, Team Europe has the momentum coming into this year’s event. The Americans will face the daunting task of trying to prevent the Europeans from securing a third consecutive Solheim Cup victory, especially on foreign soil, where the U.S. has only been victorious three times since the Cup’s inception.

Both teams boast experienced players, but there will also be several Solheim Cup rookies on display at Finca Cortesin this week. With three rookies on the European Team and five on the U.S. Team, a total of eight players will be making their Solheim Cup debuts. These rookies, such as Gemma Dryburgh, Linn Grant, and Maja Stark from Europe, and Allisen Corpuz, Cheyenne Knight, Andrea Lee, Lilia Vu, and Rose Zhang from the U.S., are all highly talented and successful players on the LPGA Tour. Despite their lack of experience in this prestigious event, they are more than capable of handling the pressure and contributing to their teams’ success.

On the other end of the spectrum, no player in the field has more Solheim Cup experience than Anna Nordqvist. The Swedish golfer has appeared in seven Solheim Cups since 2009, never missing an opportunity to represent Team Europe. With an impressive record of 14-10-3, Nordqvist has won 15.5 points for her team, including an undefeated performance in 2017. She has played a crucial role in helping Europe secure four victories during her tenure. Nordqvist’s wealth of experience led to her appointment as a vice-captain by Suzann Pettersen, but she also announced her intention to be a playing vice-captain if she qualified. Currently ranked No. 38 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Nordqvist easily made the team and is expected to make a significant impact in all aspects of the competition.

This year, the U.S. team has one of its youngest rosters ever, with an average age of 25.83. This youthful team is not only characterized by its rookie members but also by its overall age. Players like Rose Zhang, who is just 20 years old and shocked the world by winning in her professional debut, exemplify the young talent on this U.S. team. With an average Rolex Ranking of 24.42, this roster showcases the brightest stars of the younger generation in women’s golf. However, the team also includes seasoned players like Danielle Kang, Ally Ewing, and Lexi Thompson, who bring both experience and leadership to the squad.

Among the European team, Sweden is the most well-represented country, with four Swedish players competing. Alongside Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall, Linn Grant, and Maja Stark will be proudly donning the blue and yellow uniforms of their home country. Nordqvist and Hedwall have partnered in previous Solheim Cups and have achieved success together, owning a 3-2-0 record. Grant and Stark, true rookies in their first Solheim Cup appearance, have already made a name for themselves with impressive rookie seasons and LPGA wins under their belts. With this mix of veterans and rising stars, the European team’s performance this week will provide a glimpse into the legacy of Swedish golf.

As fans eagerly await the start of the 2023 Solheim Cup, there is a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation. With a closely contested competition in the offing, the battle for the crystal trophy promises to be a thrilling spectacle. Whether it’s the dominance of the United States or the chance for Europe’s first-ever three-peat, the storylines are captivating. And with a blend of experience and youth on both teams, fans can expect exceptional golf from some of the best players in the world. It’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the riveting action as the 2023 Solheim Cup unfolds.

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