The Solheim Cup is a biennial professional match-play competition for women’s golf that features the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA Tour against the best European members from the LET. The Solheim Cup is named after the American-Norwegian, Karsten Solheim, who is the founder of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, which makes PING golf equipment.
The European Team arrives at the competition holding the Cup and will need 14 points to preserve it, with the U.S. Team needing 14½ points to take back the prestigious Waterford Crystal prize. The U.S. squad dominates with an 8-5 lead in the series, but has lost two consecutive times in the past editions.
The 14th edition of the Solheim Cup will be held September 18 thru 20 at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in Germany.
Face-to-Face: Carin Koch and Juli Inkster
Carin Koch, a two-time winner on the LPGA, has experienced the Solheim Cup atmosphere after being part of Europe’s team in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005. During the most recent European victory in Parker, Colorado, Koch served as vice-captain for her countrywoman Liselotte Neumann.
Koch will have Annika Sorenstam, Sophie Gustafson and Maria McBride as her vice-captains for this 2015 edition. Fanny Sunesson, who caddied for European Tour professional Nick Faldo from 1990 to 1999, will be the team advisor. All of Koch’s vice-captains have plenty of experience when it comes to Solheim Cups.
On the other hand is Juli Inkster, a 31-time LPGA winner and a nine-time Solheim Cup team member. Juli has a vast experience playing for the U.S. but this will not be a guarantee for her team, who has two straight losses against Europe. During the 2011 Solheim Cup Inkster became the only player in the history of the event to be an active competitor and serve as an assistant captain. In her 34 Solheim matches she has 15 wins, 12 losses, 7 halved and has won 18,5 point for the U.S.
Pat Hurst and Wendy Ward will have the vice-captain role on the U.S. side. Wendy is a four-time winner and has been a three-time Solheim Cup team member. While Hurst, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, has competed in five Solheim Cups.
For the U.S. team eight players earned their spot via the Solheim Cup points list. The next two highest ranked players in the Rolex Rankings also qualified for the team. In addition the their captain, Juli Inkster, picked two players to round out the team.
The European team is made up from the four highest ranked players in LET Solheim Cup points list. Followed by the four highest ranked players in the Rolex Rankings. Captain Carin Koch made four free picks to complete her 2015 team.
During the three-day event the players will face each other in three different match-play formats: foursome, fourball and single. On first day, eight foursome matches will be played, on the second day, eight four-ball matches are held and on the last day, twelve single matches will take place in order to decide the overall winner.
Foursome: Players team up in twos and play the same ball alternately.
Four-ball: Players team up in twos, but play their individual balls. For each team the best score out of two counts on each hole.
Single: The individual players of each team face each other in twelve one to one matches. The player with the best score wins the hole.
Europe will enter de competition as the favorite team as they try to retain the Cup and defend their title in home soil.
The U.S. Team will have 11 of the players that were part of the Solheim Cup last year in Colorado when Europe won in a walk in 2013. The only new player on Juli Inkster’s team will be Rookie Alison Lee, who qualified for the event via Rolex Rankings points.
The U.S. will head to Germany with the goal of regaining the trophy and know it would not be an easy task. Juli’s mentality entering the event is to put together a humble team that only focuses in winning every match.