PGA Tour

Golf Tidbits: Thoughts from the Solheim Cup

By Kevin Currie, Senior Golf Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The European Solheim Cup team enjoyed the greatest victory in event history at Colorado Golf Club.

There is no other way to describe it. They put on a clinic in team golf and that led to a drubbing of a good American team.

To the victors go the spoils, so we'll talk about them first.

Caroline Hedwall isn't known to many American golf fans, but she is in her second full year on the LPGA Tour. In those two campaigns, she has 33 starts and exactly five top-10 finishes.

The Swede shared third at the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year, bet you didn't remember that? Despite that average looking record, she strung together the first 5-0 weekend in Solheim Cup history.

Three of her four wins with a partner were hard-fought 2&1 victories, while the other was a 4&2 thumping. She fended off Michelle Wie in a good singles match to cap a perfect week.

If one was to compare Hedwall to a Ryder Cup player, she'd be Ian Poulter. They might not have the best record in stroke-play events, but put them in a team game and they are ferocious competitors.

Hedwall is now 7-1-1 in two Solheim Cup appearances. Not a bad thing you could say about her from last week.

Charley Hull was a revelation for the Euros. The 17-year-old became the youngest competitor in event history and went 2-1. She didn't seem out of place or overwhelmed by the event, and always seemed to try to take the back seat to her partner or teammate.

Hull, a five-time runner-up on the Ladies European Tour this year, could be the next Laura Davies, who played the first 12 Solheim Cup for the Europeans and owns all kinds of records.

Suzann Pettersen is as tough as they come. Her record may have only been 2-1-1 on the week, but I wouldn't want anyone but my best players facing her in this event.

Catriona Matthew stunningly went 0-2-2. I thought she was the fourth-best player on the European team all weekend, and she didn't win a match. Very surprising. Don't be surprised if she is penciled in to captain one of the next two or three Solheim Cups for the Europeans.

Lastly, Carlota Ciganda couldn't have looked worse in her first match. One reporter said the walking scorer generously gave her an 83 in her opening fourball match with Pettersen on Friday afternoon.

She couldn't put the ball in the ocean from a cruise-liner, but somehow, someway scraped together a perfect 3-0 mark for the weekend. Her par on 15 in that Friday match will be talked about for a long time, maybe even longer than the ruling took figuring out where she should drop her ball.

Ciganda finished second in Texas earlier this year. If she can reign in the nerves, she could win a bunch in a hurry.

Before we jump to the Americans, a word or two about the officials - awful.

I know their job in a tough one, but embrace video technology to help make your rulings faster. The 30-minute debacle on Friday was bad enough, then Saturday's near 30-minute ruling was the icing on the cake.

Have a monitor available on the course so the captains and players can see where someone's ball went into the hazard, find the proper drop spot and get a move on. Those rulings didn't need to take that long or be that complicated.

For the Americans, we'll start with Michelle Wie. First off, who knows why her selection was controversial to some. She was 13th on the points list, and had played the last two Solheim Cups.

Wie went 2-2 on the week, and it could have been better. She really needs to find a better putting stance/stroke. She needs to visit with Steve Stricker, because if she could putt like him, she'd have double-digit wins on tour by now.

Last thing on Wie. For all those high-and-mighties out there that trashes her for storming off the green when she made a huge putt Friday afternoon, chill out. It's not like that hasn't happened in a team event like this before.

You think Tiger Woods apologized to Bob May for running down, fist-pumping and screaming his way to the next tee after that one birdie putt in their PGA Championship playoff? Doubtful, and it wasn't totally necessary for Wie to apologize either. She got caught up in the moment, it happens.

Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford are the first and fourth ranked Americans in the world rankings. If you ranked them based on their play at the Solheim Cup, they'd be 10th and 11th, at best.

Lewis somehow went 1-2-1, when it seemed as though she was 0-3-1. Stanford was no better, as she was shut out, going 0-4. Lewis, in two Solheim appearances, is now 2-5-1, while Stanford, who hasn't won a point her last two Solheim appearances, plummeted to 3-11-3 in five Solheim Cups.

Maybe misery loves company, and the two need to be teamed together? Check that, they were drubbed in their two matches together in 2011. These two need to figure something out.

Brittany Lang was a stud for the Americans in a tough week. Who knows how many points they would have lost by had she not gone 3-1?

Finally, Cristie Kerr is the American's answer to Pettersen. Tough, hard- nosed, always wants the toughest match. At 35, she may not have many Solheim Cup left in her, but she really needs to play earlier in singles.

In the last four Solheim Cups, Kerr has played 10th, 10th, 12th (DNP - injury) and 12th in the singles sessions. She's one of the best Americans in the game, get her in that clean-up spot and let her get an early point on the board.

We'll close out on one thought about the captains - Liselotte Neumann for the Europeans and Meg Mallon for the Americans. But this thought goes, for anyone captaining a team like this or the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.

Why do captains insist on breaking up winning teams? Team A wins their first match, they're together tomorrow in that format, if not sooner. Neumann played four teams in multiple sessions, while Mallon played two teams in more than one session.

The result? 6-2 for the Europeans, 1-3 for the Americans.

Not many Americans pairings won at all this week, but at least give more of them more than one session to prove they can play together.

MINI-TIDBITS

* The FedExCup Playoffs get underway Thursday. Brandt Snedeker is in line to become the first reigning FedExCup champion to make it to East Lake the following year to defend his title. My not-so-darkhorse pick to win the Tour Championship and FedExCup is Jordan Spieth.

* The Presidents Cup teams will be named in two weeks. These five - Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and Billy Horschel - rank 11th to 15th on the U.S. team points list. Captain Fred Couples is going to have one tough job letting a couple of those guys know that they didn't make the team.

08/20 18:45:53 ET

  • 490 First Avenue South
  • St. Petersburg, FL 33701
  • 727-893-8111