It’s that time of year! The start of the 2013 LPGA season is quickly approaching and as we count down the days until the year’s first event, our eyes are focused on “What to Watch” for the upcoming season. So over the next two weeks on LPGA.com, we will take a glimpse at some of the top storylines on the LPGA Tour for 2013. Today’s storyline…2013 Solheim Cup
When the LPGA Tour’s 2013 schedule was released last month, fans and followers alike could not deny an exciting lineup for Golf’s Global Tour: three new tournaments including events in China, the Bahamas and North Texas, the addition of the fifth major at The Evian, a return to the Old Course at St. Andrews and a stop at the picturesque Sebonack Golf Club for the U.S. Women’s Open.
But the one event that grabs the attention of women’s golf fans every two years, will showcase the best players from the United States and Europe in one of the most passionate and emotional events in golf.
The 2013 Solheim Cup will be played at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. and will be coined “The Rematch” with the U.S. looking to regain the Cup and protect their untarnished record on home soil following a 15-13 loss to the Europeans in Ireland in 2011.
The event will again be must-see-TV and consistently brings the most exciting and entertaining display of the game to fans across the globe. The last playing of The Solheim Cup in the U.S. at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago in 2009 featured the highest viewed LPGA round (Sunday) in Golf Channel history. In 2011, Golf Channel aired 31 live hours of Solheim Cup coverage.
The U.S. leads the overall series, 8-4, but Europe’s dramatic Sunday afternoon comeback in 2011 set the stage for the most anticipated Solheim Cup in tournament history this summer. Let’s take a look at some story lines to watch as we anxiously await the showdown in August.
Who will be in Red, White and Blue? The stakes are high heading into the 2013 LPGA Tour season for the top American golfers as Solheim Cup points increase during the event’s calendar season. This year, eight players will qualify for the squad off of points earned from their finishes in official LPGA events, while the next two highest-ranked eligible players from the Rolex Rankings while automatically qualify for the squad. That will leave U.S. Team Captain Meg Mallon with two remaining spots for a very hard decision for the final captain’s picks.
|Current Top 8 Players by|
|1. Stacy Lewis||518|
|2. Cristie Kerr||294|
|3. Paula Creamer||264|
|4. Angela Stanford||234|
|5. Brittany Lincicome||203|
|6. Brittany Lang||154|
|7. Lexi Thompson||132|
|8. Katie Futcher||97|
A lot can happen until the first week in August at the RICOH Women’s British Open which will serve as the cut-off point for Solheim qualifying and the site for where both teams will be announced. With some solid experience in the current top-8, there could also be some fresh flair with the likes of Lexi Thompson and Katie Futcher who would make their first appearances in the biennial event.
Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie are currently the two highest-ranked eligible players in the Rolex Rankings and would bring a combined five years of experience to the U.S. team.
Players who are in the mix and who would be Solheim first-timers include 2012 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open champ Jessica Korda, Mina Harigae, Lizette Salas, Jennifer Johnson and Gerina Piller. Both the U.S. and European squads had two Solheim rookies each last year. Should be interesting to see who will get their break out opportunity in Colorado this August.
Protect this house! In 2013, the Solheim Cup will return to the United States but the question remains, can the U.S. team maintain their flawless record on home soil? Since the start of the Solheim Cup in 1990, the U.S. Team has leaned on the support of the American home crowd to prevail in front of their own country’s fans.
If the U.S. Team wants to maintain their dominance and keep their undefeated record on home soil intact, they will have to fend off a European Team that pulled off the shocking upset in 2011. Played at Killeen Castle in Ireland, the European Team regained control of the Cup for the first time since 2003 and the fourth time overall.
Tough turnaround: The 13th staging of the Solheim Cup will be held the third weekend in August and players will be coming off only a one-week break following the RICOH Women’s British Open at St. Andrew’s. With more than half of the LPGA season in the books, players will be searching for ways to recuperate and find all the energy they can get for the emotional rollercoaster that is the Solheim Cup. Some players have commented about the change in altitude and challenge of playing in such unique conditions. The LPGA’s last event in Colorado was in 2011 at the U.S. Women’s Open at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.