Solheim Cup: expect fireworks in Europe’s bid for historic triumph | Solheim Cup

Suzann Pettersen’s Solheim Cup experiences recommend her captaincy is unlikely to show boring. At Finca Cortesin, Pettersen leads a European facet who’re searching for to create historical past by profitable the transatlantic joust 3 times in a row for the primary time. The Norwegian exudes a degree of confidence that can come again to chew her ought to these in stars and stripes flip tables. Interestingly, this bullish strategy from the hosts is basically fuelled by the success of their gamers on the United States-based LPGA Tour. Legitimate questions stay over the power of the Ladies European Tour, which has just lately been quietly enhanced by Saudi Arabian riches.

Onlookers ought to put together for theatre. Pettersen spent the Sunday night of the 2015 Solheim Cup crying in her resort room after involvement in a guidelines debacle. At Gleneagles 4 years later, Pettersen slammed residence the profitable putt for Europe instantly earlier than declaring she was retiring from skilled golf. She has been true to her phrase; Pettersen assisted Catriona Matthew in 2021 however in any other case has saved her distance from the entrance line of this sport. Her standing is such that no person begrudged her that.

“I know everything about these players, probably more than they know themselves,” mentioned Pettersen. She feels no want to inform her 12 golfers {that a} three-timer is extraordinary.

“I don’t really have to tell the players what we’re up for,” Europe’s captain added. “I think the players are really on it. I think it’s always great to have a possible dream to chase. That’s great. But there is so much golf to be played from where we sit here today to the end of Sunday that this is not something that I’m pushing on the players at all. We’ll see how every session goes and we’ll try and adjust from there.” Indeed, high quality margins have a tendency to find out Solheim Cup outcomes.

In Stacy Lewis, Pettersen has a formidable opponent. Both captains are identified for their ferociously aggressive spirit. Each is a two-time main champion. They are additionally totally different in strategy; Lewis seems way more centered on statistics than Pettersen. Lewis used numbers to defend her opening session collection of Lexi Thompson, who has been struggling for particular person kind.

“We started the week and I had a couple people within our team, between caddies and helpers, come up to me and just say: ‘She is hitting it really good,’” mentioned Lewis of Thompson. “Every day there has been more and more people telling me this. With the data and the analytics that we have, I actually have their strokes gained from the practice over the last two days and she is off the charts right now.”

Team Europe fans cheer on their players at the opening ceremony for the Solheim Cup.
Team Europe followers cheer on their gamers on the opening ceremony for the Solheim Cup. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Ludvig Åberg will expertise a Solheim Cup earlier than a Ryder Cup. The Swede is predicted on the primary tee right here on Friday morning to indicate his assist for Team Europe – together with shut pals Linn Grant and Maja Stark – earlier than heading to Rome for the lads’s equal.

The venue itself will current challenges. The mountains of Andalucía present a shocking backdrop however an estimated 10,000 spectators per day will discover it difficult to navigate the course on foot. If umpteen matches run near 18 holes, there will likely be a real query over ending throughout daylight. Tournament officers have a information time for fourballs of a staggering – and deflating – 5 and a half hours.

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Åberg will watch Grant and Stark lead Europe off in the foursomes. “They were asking for this so here we go,” mentioned Pettersen, in a nod in the direction of participant energy. The Swedes will face Thompson and Megan Khang. Céline Boutier and Georgia Hall tackle Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee. Leona Maguire, who excelled in Ohio two years in the past, will associate Anna Nordqvist towards Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz. In recreation 4 Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen will play Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight. Hull has been troubled by a neck damage however insists she is match sufficient to play. “I told the girls these pairings on Monday night so they have had all week to prepare,” mentioned Pettersen. It is simply as nicely, due to this fact, that Hull has declared herself as much as the duty.

Lilia Vu, a two time main winner in 2023 and the world No 2, will surprisingly sit out the opening day foursomes for the US. So, too, will the rising star Rose Zhang. “I don’t see anybody playing all five sessions,” Lewis mentioned. The US, in the weird place of the underdog, might do with a flying begin.

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