Handa Cup preview

The fifth edition of the Handa Cup presented by Hannaford and Kraft Foods is set to take place September 4 and 5 at Wentworth by the Sea Country Club in Rye, New Hampshire. The Donald Ross layout will play host to the event for the first time. The Handa Cup is the premier team match-play competition between squads from the United States and the World on The Legends Tour, the Official Legends Tour of the LPGA. The field for the Cup is a virtual who's who in the world of women's' professional golf, boasting tournament winners from all corners of the globe.

The U.S. Team will be captained by LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member and 88-time LPGA Tour winner Kathy Whitworth. Whitworth has coached the U.S. Team to all four previous Handa Cup victories. Whitworth will be assisted by the affable, two-time Legends Tour winner Lori West. Whitworth and West will provide guidance to a team of 12 highly decorated LPGA and Legends Tour players. The U.S. Team boasts six LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame members, Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley, JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel, Nancy Lopez and Patty Sheehan. Together, the U.S. Team combines for a total of 275 career LPGA Tour titles.

The World Team will be led by Scotland's Cathy Panton Lewis for the third time. Panton Lewis competed on the international side at the 2006 and 2007 Handa Cups. Panton Lewis is a founding member of the Ladies European Tour (LET) and claims honor to 15 LET titles and the 1976 British Amateur Championship. She will have two-time LPGA Tour winner Gail Graham from Canada as her assistant. Headlining the World Team are Jan Stephenson, Sally Little and Helen Alfredsson. The World Team boasts players from nine different countries who combine for 52 LPGA career victories.

The Handa Cup is a two-day team match-play competition. The first day features best-ball and modified alternate-shot formats. The second and final day pits one U.S. player against one World player in head-to-head singles matches.

Here are the rosters.

Team U.S.A.: Captain: Kathy Whitworth; Assistant Captain: Lori West; Amy Alcott; Pat Bradley; JoAnne Carner; Beth Daniel; Christa Johnson; Rosie Jones; Nancy Lopez; Meg Mallon; Cindy Rarick; Nancy Scranton; Patty Sheehan; Sherri Steinhauer.

Team World: Captain: Cathy Panton Lewis (Scotland); Assistant Captain: Gail Graham (Canada); Helen Alfredsson (Sweden); Dawn Coe-Jones (Canada); Jane Crafter (Australia); Alicia Dibos (Peru); Lorie Kane (Canada); Jenny Lidback (Peru); Sally Little (South Africa); Mieko Nomura (Japan); Alison Nicholas (England); Anne Marie Palli (France); Jan Stephenson (Australia)

Handa Cup rookies. Each squad welcomes two rookies this year. Four-time LPGA Tour winner Lorie Kane will make her fist Handa Cup appearance for the World Team. Kane posted her best LPGA finish of the year at last week's CN Canadian Women's Open with weekend rounds of 68-67. Joining Kane in the rookie ranks is LPGA Tour winner and current Golf Channel analyst Jane Crafter from Australia. On the U.S. side, eight-time LPGA Tour winner Sherri Steinhauer will make her Handa Cup debut. Steinhauer grabbed her first Legends Tour victory last year at the Legends Tour Open Championship. 18-time LPGA Tour winner Meg Mallon will also be a Handa Cup first-timer. The event will be Mallon's first competitive appearance since she announced that she was stepping away from the LPGA Tour at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger in July.

Could this be the year that the World Team takes home the Cup? All four previous competitions have been won by the U.S. Team. The closest the International players came to defeating the Americans was at the 2007 Handa Cup. That year, the World Team jumped off to a 14-10 lead after the team matches, but faltered in the singles to lose the Cup 26-22.

A little friendly preview? Could this weekend's Handa Cup be a preview of what is to come at next year's Solheim Cup? Rosie Jones, the Captain for the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team, and Alison Nicholas, the Captain for the 2011 European Solheim Cup team, will both compete this weekend. A possible Sunday singles match featuring the two captains could provide for some early bragging rights before the two meet again for the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Ireland.

Tour titles abound. The U.S. and World teams combine for total of 327 career LPGA victories, not including the record 88 titles won by U.S. Captain Kathy Whitworth. Nancy Lopez (48), JoAnne Carner (43), Patty Sheehan (35), Beth Daniel (33), Pat Bradley (31), Amy Alcott (29), Meg Mallon (18), Jan Stephenson (16), Sally Little (15), Rosie Jones (13), Christa Johnson (9), Sherri Steinhauer (8), Helen Alfredsson (7), Cindy Rarick (5), Lorie Kane (4), Alison Nicholas (3), Dawn Coe-Jones (3), Nancy Scranton (3), Anne-Marie Palli (2), Jane Crafter (1), Jenny Lidback (1).

Playing for charity. All proceeds from tickets sales will support The First Tee of New Hampshire. In addition to The First Tee curriculum, the New Hampshire location doubles as an LPGA-USGA Girls Golf site, a club that has become so popular this summer that a second session was put in place to accommodate all the girls looking to get involved with the game of golf. Juniors from Girls Golf and The First Tee will have a chance to rub shoulders with the Legends Tour players this weekend.

Topics: Tournament Preview

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