- Solheim Cup
The Solheim Cup is a biennial match play tournament for women professional players representing Europe and the United States of America, with the venue alternating between courses on either side of the Atlantic. Modelled on the men's Ryder Cup series of matches, it was first played in 1990 at Lake Nona in Florida, where the home side inflicted an 11½ - 4½ beating on the visiting Europeans.
Golf club designer Karsten Solheim, the man who created the PING manufacturing company, was the driving force behind the tournament, and the Solheim Cup – an impressive Waterford Crystal trophy – is named in his honour. It measures nineteen inches in height (including an eight inch mahogany plinth), weighs more than twenty pounds and is engraved with the winning scores around the base.
The cup is played over three days. There’s a combination of morning and afternoon foursomes and four-balls played on the first two days, with singles arranged for the final day. Each side comprised eight players in 1990 but this was expanded to ten for the next two editions. Since then, teams consist of twelve lady golfers vying for the 28 points that are on offer throughout the match.
Team selection – again, just like the Ryder Cup – is largely based on a points system. Players gain points relative to where they finish in tour events in a qualifying period before the Solheim Cup takes place. Each team also has a number of ‘captain's picks,’ allowing the team captains several discretionary selections, especially for those players with debateable standings in the points table.
Laura Davies of Team Europe has made most appearances (12) between 1990 and 2011. She’s also accumulated the most points (25) with a playing record of 22-18-6. The oldest competitor is America’s Juli Inskster who was aged 51 at Killeen Castle in 2011. At the other end of the ageist scale, Charlie Hull was a mere 17-year-old teenager when she made her debut two years later.
The biggest margin of victory in a match so far is one that Trish Johnson of Europe would like to forget, as she was at the receiving end of an 8&7 trouncing by Pat Bradley from the US in the very first series of matches in 1990. There’s been one hole in one down the years since then, and it was achieved by Anna Nordquist in 2013 on the par three 17th hole at Colorado Golf Club.
The event has been held three times in Scotland when Europe has hosted the Solheim Cup and the home team made full use of its territorial advantage every time by winning all three tournaments; at Dalmahoy Country Club in 1990, Loch Lomond Golf Club in 2000 and the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles in 2017. To date, the one solitary win for Team Europe on American soil was registered at Colorado in 2013.
Solheim Cup Top 100 Leaderboard