The Solheim Cup is a biennial professional golf tournament contested by women’s teams representing the United States and Europe. Yeah, you can call it the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup if you want to.
It was first held in 1990 and named after Karsten Solheim, founder of the PING golf clubs, who was one of the driving forces behind its creation. The competition was staged in even years, alternating with the Ryder Cup. But after the latter’s postponement in 2001 following the September 11 attacks, the Solheim Cup was moved to odd years beginning 2003.
The Solheim Cup is played as a match play event with each match equivalent to one point. The schedule of matches is as follows:
- Day 1 (Friday): Four foursome (alternate shot) matches in a morning session and four fourball (better ball) matches in an afternoon session. A total of eight players from each team participate in each session.
- Day 2 (Saturday): Four foursome (alternate shot) matches in a morning session and four fourball (better ball) matches in an afternoon session. A total of eight players from each team participate in each session.
- Day 3 (Sunday): 12 singles matches. All 12 players from each team participate.
A total of 28 points is up for grabs and 14.5 points are needed to win the Cup. For the defending champion to retain the Cup, they need to score 14 points. All matches are played to 18 holes if the scores are tied after 18 holes, each team will get one-half point.
The United States won the last Solheim Cup in 2017 when it was held at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa, U.S.A. This year’s competition will be the 16th edition of the Solheim Cup and it will be held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland on September 13-15, 2019. The defending champions are the golf betting favorites to win their third straight Solheim Cup.
The first 8 players on Team USA will be picked based on the Solheim rankings. The rankings are determined by a points system. Players are awarded points for every LPGA event beginning the 2017 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open until the CP Women’s Open which will be played in August. Points are doubled at the five LPGA Majors.
The next two players will be taken from the Rolex Women’s World rankings. The top two players in the Rolex rankings not part of the Top 8 in the Solheim rankings will be the two players selected for the team. The remaining two team members will be the “captain’s pick”, handpicked by USA captain Julie Inkster.
As of July 1, 2019, here are the current Solheim rankings for Team USA:
Odds from Titanbet.com as of 7/08/19
For Team Europe, the selection process also involves a point system but a different one. All Ladies European Tour events immediately after the 2017 Solheim Cup until the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Cup from August 8-11, 2019 will earn points for the players. The top 3 players in the rankings after the qualification period will get the first three spots on the team.
The next five will be based on the Rolex Women’s World rankings. The Top 5 in the Rolex rankings who are not part of the three players selected under the Solheim rankings will earn the next five spots on the team. The remaining four players on the team will be picked by Europe captain Captain Matthews as the “captain’s picks”.
As of July 1, 2019, here are the current Solheim rankings Team Europe:
|1||Anne Van Dam||114|
The Solheim Cup has been dominated the United States and they have won 10 out of the first 15 installments of the competition including the last two. Team USA won a close contest in Germany in 2015, defeating Europe by a single point. In 2015, the Americans won by a more convincing 16.5-11.5 in 2017 when they played on their home soil.
Europe last tasted victory in 2013, when the won in 2013 at the Colorado Golf Club. That victory was their fifth overall in the tournament and the only time that Europe has won on United States soil. Their other four triumphs happened in Europe with half of those interestingly happening in Scotland.
Europe’s best win came in Scotland in 1992 when they defeated the Americans 11.5 to 6.5. With this year’s event to be held in Scotland, the Europeans will have confidence heading to the tournament. But since then, the format has changed and the Americans have dominated. Team USA will be looking for their first win in Scotland.
This will be the third time that Julie Inkster is captaining Team USA and she is currently 2-0 in such capacity. But not only has she been winning this competition as captain, but she also represented the United States in the Solheim Cup from 1992-2011, winning the title seven times as a player. With her experience in pressure situations, the Americans certainly have a huge edge over their rivals.
As for Team Europe, Matthew was vice-captain in 2017 but was forced to play after Suzann Pettersen suffered an injury. Matthews is familiar with the Gleneagles course as she won the 1998 McDonald’s WPGA Championship, a European Tour event and this should be an edge for Europe. Matthew is Scottish and that should be another advantage for Team Europe.
We can only speculate right now on who wins because the teams haven’t been finalized yet. We can compare the teams though, in terms of captaincy and when it comes to that, the United States has the advantage with a Solheim Cup veteran like Julie Inkster. Team Europe has the edge because this event will be played in Scotland and they have won twice before in Scotland plus their captain is from Scotland.
I think we’ll have an exciting match-up this year because of where the competition is going to be held. Regardless of who the final line-up would be, Europe will most certainly be fired up playing in front of the home crowd and with the knowledge that the Americans have never won in Scotland. But the U.S.A. heads to the 2019 Solheim Cup as favorites to win for the third consecutive event. In any sport, the experience is important from top to bottom and I think the Americans have that. Prediction: United States