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An Early Guide to the 2021 Solheim Cup
Juli Inkster’s term as the US Solheim Cup team captain has come to an end after three sessions. The Americans hoisted the Cup in Germany (2015) and in Iowa (2017) under Inkster’s guidance, but it was the Europeans who emerged last time out in Scotland.
To no surprise, Scotswoman Catriona Matthew is back in the saddle as Europe seeks its second straight triumph. I will continue setting the stage for September with an early preview of the 2021 Solheim Cup.
2021 Solheim Cup Details
- When: September 4-6
- Where: Inverness Club – Toledo, OH
- US Captain: Pat Hurst
- European Captain: Catriona Matthew
Starting on a Saturday and ending on Labor Day, the three-day festivities are set for September 4-6 at the acclaimed Inverness Club in Toledo, OH. Pat Hurst, a five-time member of the United States team as a player, received the nod to captain the 2021 American squad.
Hurst, 52, has already appointed Michelle Wie West and Angele Stanford as vice-captains. She’ll select one additional VC sometime in the next month.
Matthew, 51, has been part of every European Solheim Cup team since 2003 and stakes claim to having accumulated the third-most points (22) in the history of the event. Only Laura Davies (25) and Annika Sorenstam (24) amassed more.
The 2009 Women’s British Open champ is eager for the opportunity to win a second consecutive cup.
Solheim Cup Format
A total of 28 points are up for grabs. The action kicks off with a quartet of foursomes (alternate shot) matches taking place on the first morning, followed by four fourball (best ball) matches in the afternoon.
That process is repeated on the second day, while the third day features 12 mano-a-mano matchups.
|2021 Solheim Cup Schedule of Events|
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|4 Foursomes||4 Fourballs||4 Foursomes||4 Fourballs||12 Singles|
The first team to rack up 14.5 points goes home with the trophy. And expect it to go down to the wire. The final tally was 14.5-13.5 in two of the last three editions.
Forecasting the United States Roster at the Solheim Cup
From the official US Solheim Cup standings, the top seven names will automatically qualify. Two additional slots will be filled by selecting the two highest-ranked players (Rolex Rankings) who weren’t part of the original top seven.
That leaves three captain’s picks for Hurst as opposed to the two captain’s picks Inkster had at her disposal in 2019. However, Pat is far from convinced that being allotted an extra CP is all its jacked up to be.
Given the criteria in place, here are the nine golfers currently in line to be on the US Solheim Cup Roster.
- Danielle Kang
- Nelly Korda
- Ally Ewing
- Lexi Thompson
- Jessica Korda
- Megan Khang
- Austin Ernst
- Jennifer Kupcho
- Amy Olson
As for who else Hurst could be eying to fill out her squad, Stacy Lewis and Lizette Salas quickly come to mind. Brittany Altomare is firmly in play, as are Marina Alex and Angel Yin. And rule out the possibility of Angele Stanford and/or Michelle Wie West pulling double duties in Toledo.
Stanford sits 9th in terms of Solheim Cup points, while Wie West has already conversed with her captain about the possibility of being a playing vice-captain.
Projecting the European Team at the Solheim Cup
If Pat Hurst is complaining about having three captain’s picks, surely she wouldn’t want to swap shoes with Catriona Mathew. The European Team captain will select six captain’s picks for her Solheim Cup roster in 2021.
The other six spots will be comprised of:
- The top-two women on the LET Solheim Cup Points ranking
- The top 4 women in the Rolex Rankings who aren’t exempt under the classification above.
If the Solheim Cup began today, the six females assured of a spot would be as follows.
- Emily Kristine Pedersen (LET)
- Alice Hewson (LET)
- Sophia Popov (Rolex)
- Carlota Ciganda (Rolex)
- Mel Reid (Rolex)
- Charley Hull (Rolex)
After missing out on the action in 2019, Emily Kristine Pedersen is locked and loaded for her second stint on the European roster. Pedersen won four events on the Ladies European Tour (LET) in 2020, including three in a four-week span last November.
Alice Hewson finished third at the inaugural Scandinavian Mixed event and looks to be in a prime spot to make her first Solheim Cup Team.
We can go ahead and pencil the next four names on this list onto Matthew’s squad – I see no scenarios (barring injuries) where Popov, Ciganda, Reid, and Hull aren’t all part of the mix.
Denmark’s Nana Koertstz Madsen and England’s Georgia Hall are close to shoo-ins to make the team, although the same can’t be said for Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist. The 34-year-old Swede has been on every Solheim Cup team since 2009, but her recent form has been sketchy, to say the least.
Across nine starts on the LPGA Tour in 2021, Nordqvist has registered just one top-20 finish.
Celine Boutier was the star of the 2019 Solheim Cup (4-0-0) – it’s hard to imagine Matthew not including the 27-year-old Frenchwoman on her 2021 roster. Especially considering Celine recently closed with a tournament-record 64 (bogey-free, -8) at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.
Speaking of the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, Finland’s Matilda Castren has burst onto Catriona Matthew’s radar after storming to a two-shot victory at Lake Merced Golf Club.
Three more names likely to be pondered when the time comes for Matthew to round out her roster are Bronte Law, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and Madelene Sagstrom.
Getting Familiar with Inverness Club
The private club in Toledo, Ohio is no stranger to hosting prestigious golf tournaments. Inverness was home to four US Opens between 1920-1979 and a couple of PGA Championships (1986, 1993).
Ironically, Greg Norman finished runner-up in both PGA’s held at Inverness. This includes a devasting loss at the hands of Bob Tway holing a bunker shot – one of the most memorable moments in PGA Championship history.
More recently, the LPGA returned to golf after a lengthy hiatus last year at this very same venue for the 2020 LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness. Danielle Kang was the last woman standing after fending off Celine Boutier by a single shot.
The layout is a bit unique from traditional par-72s – there is just one par-5 and one par-3 on the inward nine. The classic Donald Ross design clocks in at #65 in Golf Digest’s 2021 list of America’s 100 greatest golf courses.
What About the 2021 Ryder Cup?
If you came searching for an early guide to the 2021 Solheim Cup, you might also be interested in the Ryder Cup taking place later in September. To help lay the foundation, I prepared an early Ryder Cup preview and assisted in crafting a detailed Ryder Cup betting guide.
As the US Open was set to get underway at Torrey Pines, I also scoped out what Steve Stricker’s United States Ryder Cup roster could like.
Now you are all set with material for the biggest team competitions in men’s and women’s professional golf!