|Trish Johnson in Halmstad, Sweden, during The 2007 Solheim Cup|
England’s Trish Johnson will be targeting her ninth appearance as a member of Europe’s Solheim Cup team for the 13th staging of the tournament, which takes place at Colorado Golf Club in the United States on August 13-18.
Johnson, who competed in the inaugural match in 1990, is currently ranked 12th on the European points list from which the top four players will qualify when the team is announced at St Andrews on August 4.
She has represented Europe in the event eight times as a competitor, in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2007, but was also on hand to witness Europe’s stunning victory at Killeen Castle in Ireland in 2011, when she acted as an on-course commentator for Sky Sports.
Talking about what makes The Solheim Cup so special, she commented: “I’m sure it’s been said before but it’s the only team golf we play. I can’t really express the difference between the pressure of playing for yourself and playing for 11 other team mates: captain, vice-captain and your tour, basically. Everybody is behind you, so it’s the sort of thing, you want to go in playing the best golf you’ve ever played because when you’re struggling a little bit it is purgatory. It’s really hard work.
“You’re not going to find your game at a Solheim Cup, so to enjoy it I think you’ve really got to be playing well because there’s an awful lot of pressure. The rewards are more enjoyable. You just have to watch, whether it’s Ryder Cup or Solheim Cup on TV, and see unusual behaviour and immense camaraderie, which you do sometimes see individually but not on that scale, at all.”
Johnson was a member two victorious European teams, at Dalmahoy in 1992 and at Loch Lomond in 2000 and she added: “It’s just such a euphoric feeling if you manage to win. It’s not something you can replicate by winning a golf tournament.”
She described how playing in The Solheim Cup can also improve a player’s confidence once back on tour.
“If you play in a Solheim Cup and you perform to a high standard; a perfect example is, I don’t think Mel (Reid) earned a lot of points last year but she played exceptionally well. It elevated her status and it’s as simple as that. When you come back on tour you feel like you are one of the best players and half the battle with winning is actually feeling like you should be winning all the time. When you get to that standard it’s something you’ve got to do week in week out, which obviously Mel does. It elevates your status basically. You start to think a little bit differently, you start to think like a winner.”
The winning mentality will be especially important for Liselotte Neumann’s 12-woman team this summer when Europe attempts to win for the first time in America.
There is the tantalising prospect that her team could end Europe’s search for glory on American soil and retain The Solheim Cup at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Denver, following on from the extraordinary achievements of the European men who retained the Ryder Cup in Chicago last year.