Two years ago, U.S. Solheim Cup teammates Paula Creamer and Angela Stanford stood near the 18th green at Killeen Castle in Ireland and watched the victorious European Team celebrate their first triumph in the biennial event since 2003.
Feeling the sting of defeat, Creamer - who had never been on a losing team before - looked over at Stanford and said, “I never want to have this feeling again.”
For eight members of this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup Team who also played in 2011, the wait is finally over for the chance to get revenge on the reigning Solheim Cup champions. Stanford and Creamer will reunite with Stacy Lewis, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie in Parker, Colorado ready to brush off the loss and tally another win on their already impressive 8-4 record over Europe.
“I can’t tell you how prepared and excited we are,” said Creamer, a five-year U.S. Team member. “We have such a great team. We’re young. I think the chemistry we all have is probably one of the best that I’ve been on. We’ve waited two years to get our Cup back, and I can tell you we’re not going to let it slip through our fingers again.”
Following a devastating 15-13 upset in 2011, the U.S. Team enters the week having two years to develop as individuals on the LPGA Tour. In more way than one, the loss in Ireland helped shape the eight returning U.S. players into the golfers they are today.
Stanford, who lost to Spain’s Azahara Munoz in one of the final two singles matches in Ireland, says the two-year wait couldn’t go by fast enough and she’s ready to redeem herself and her team of the upset.
“It’s amazing how much we all enjoy the week of Solheim,” said Stanford, who is competing on her fifth U.S. Team this year, “but in the end, if you’re not holding that Cup, you want the next two years to go by quickly because you want another chance.”
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis makes her second appearance in the red, white and blue this week, but this year she’s a tougher target than in 2011. Now an eight-time LPGA Tour winner and a two-time major champion, Lewis admits she wouldn’t be the golfer she is today had she not experienced that Solheim Cup loss.
“I learned a lot about myself that week,” said Lewis. “Learning how to deal with adversity and handling different things. I definitely think I grew up a lot that week. I learned what it took to be a great player and things like that. I wouldn’t be where I am in my career had I not been through that loss at Solheim.”
U.S.A. welcomes four rookies to their team in their quest to regain the Cup this year. Lexi, Thompson, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller will seek guidance in the veterans this week, knowing that a lot is on the line. But with seven veterans who have all experienced both a win and a loss in team competition, the rookies will learn what to expect from the pressure-packed event. Stanford says the loss in 2011 taught her a valuable lesson that she hopes to pass down to this year’s rookie class.
“It’s not over until it’s over, especially in Colorado,” said Stanford. “Those last five holes are going to be crucial. But you know, the match isn’t over until it’s over, the Cup isn’t won until it’s won. So I think that what we’ll be showing the rookies this year.”The U.S. Team will tee off on Friday with more American Pride than ever before. As they stand on the first tee at the Colorado Golf Club, completely engulfed in a sea of red, white and blue with echoes of the national anthem ringing in the air, only one thing will be on their mind: bring the Cup home.
Topics: Solheim Cup