(Edina, Minnesota September 19 2002) The seventh staging of The Solheim Cup begins in earnest on Friday morning among the delightful woodland at Interlachen GC, scene of many historic championships of the past including the 1930 US Open, where the legendary Bobby Jones won the third leg of his Grand Slam.
The Solheim Cup formula is simple enough, take 12 of the finest women golfers born in the USA, 12 from Europe and pit them together over three days of foursomes, fourballs and finish it off with a dozen singles matches on Sunday afternoon.
Neither team can wholly claim to be the clear favourites, but with a home ground advantage, some of the stalwarts of the European side concede that the USA is perhaps edging the battle.
However, Davies was quick to point out that if the match were played in Europe, it would not be the case.
“I think for the first time ever, we have the stronger of the two teams, certainly ball striking wise and it’s yet to be seen if that can translate into points on the board,” said Davies, who aims to extend her record tally of 14 points won in the biennial event.
“We don’t have a weak link in the team and we have never been able to say that before. Home advantage is massive for them, but I think if it were in Europe this year, I would have us as clear favourites as our team is very strong.”
Reid concurred with Davies summation heading into Friday’s morning foursomes matches and vowed to keep the trophy on European soil to end her tenure as Captain.
|An emotional Dottie Pepper|
“Nothing looks too scary from there, I am very happy with those matches,” said Reid after she had seen Friday’s draw for the first time.
“Some people might question my pairing with Raquel and Iben, but they played nine holes this (Thursday) morning as a foursome and were four under par and I’ll be looking for a result with that match tomorrow.
“All of them are key matches and we need to get off to a good start, perhaps 3-1 or 4-0 like we did at Loch Lomond.
“Laura and Paula seemed like a natural combination to go out first. LD loves to play early and I hope to get a result out of that match. The key factor with foursomes pairings is personality and out of my entire team, I am not scared to pair anyone together because they are all bonding well and capable of shooting 65’s.
“Helen and Suzann are just a great pairing as they get on so well with each other and they are both so up for it.
“Annika and Carin was an easy one for me, they didn’t get beaten in 2000 and the way Annika is playing this year, you could pair Mickey Mouse with her and get a point, no offence to Carin! But they are both good friends and I think they are a superb pairing for the last group.”
The four ball better ball format will be played in the afternoon, with a repeat of Friday’s format on Saturday. On Sunday, 12 singles matches will decide the outcome of the 2002 Solheim Cup.
FOURSOMES MATCHES FRIDAY September 20, 2002.
0800 JULI INKSTER AND LAURA DIAZ vs LAURA DAVIES AND PAULA MARTI
0812 BETH DANIEL AND WENDY WARD vs IBEN TINNING AND RAQUEL CARRIEDO
0824 KELLY ROBBINS AND PAT HURST vs HELEN ALFREDSSON AND SUZANN PETTERSEN
0836 MEG MALLON AND KELLI KEUHNE vs ANNIKA SORENSTAM AND CARIN KOCH