It’s strange considering that for some professional golfers, winning tournaments isn’t everything. Winning trophies individually is of course fun and career-defining, but many consider the team competitions to be the source of their most inspiring moments, the times when they shine brightest on the golf course.
The 17th edition of the Solheim Cup is imminent and the memories of the former Senior LPGA Championship participants flow back with excitement as everyone watches the competition in Inverness. “>
The eight-time Solheim Cupper Trish Johnson counts the victory of Team Europe in 1992 in the Scottish Dalmahoy Country Club as one of the most important moments of victory in her career, which was even more special because of its improbability. Johnson was responsible for one and a half European points in this edition and it’s a win that all these years later is still incredibly sentimental for the Englishwoman.
“Dalmahoy will never be forgotten because it was so ridiculous,” said Johnson. “We could never win this game. It was like St. Trinian was playing against an all-star team, but we did it. I don’t know exactly how. As expected, we got the opening ceremony absolutely destroyed. We weren’t expecting much two years later so it was pretty ridiculous to win. The two best victories I’ve ever competed in were the 1986 Curtis Cup at Prairie Dunes and the Solheim Cup. That’s better than any of my victories. A win is a win, that’s great. But a team event, if you win that, that’s something very special. “
Her compatriot, Dame Laura Davies, holds the record for most points won in the course of her Solheim Cup career at 25 and made more appearances from 1990 to 2011 than any other competitor reached at 12. For Davies, it was the highly competitive fights that she enjoyed as much as she won, and while some of those fights didn’t always go their way, they were a pleasure nonetheless.
“I’ve been involved in eight losses and four wins, so I didn’t get a very high percentage of wins,” said the lady. “Just the memories of the victories with your teammates. The matches against Inkster were great fun. Paula Creamer and I played a lot against each other. I once beat Creamer’s 7 & 6 and somehow that’s a good memory. I am not exactly sure how. It was played in such a good mood and that’s the thing with Solheim. “
Juli Inkster, two-time winning captain and oldest player to ever take part in the event, was a player who just wanted to live in the moment and cherish the experience and never took the opportunity to represent Team USA for granted.
“You have to enjoy it while you’re there because you don’t know if you’re going to do another one. My thing has always been to enjoy my teammates and make a few memories out of them. “
But with all the fun, the Solheim Cup is still a passionate fight that is fought out of love for the country and the continent and which the participants in the past and present do not take lightly. As these ex-competitors look to the next week, they all have their views on their respective teams and their ability to tackle three grueling game days.
“I think it could be the best team we’ve ever had,” said Johnson from Team Europe. “It’s just so strong from one to twelve. I don’t think there’s anyone who isn’t there. But it will be difficult because there are no fans. They’ll all be American fans. This is difficult. Everyone needs cheering and it gets pretty loud. You have to deal with that. “
Davies repeats that feeling and considering that the four winning Team Europes she was a member of all had the home team advantage, she knows better than anyone about the benefit of a supportive crowd.
“I think what we have is great. However, I think the deciding factor could be the amount. We won’t have a lot of spectators for the European team. If we can calm the American audience down, we have our best chances. “
From a United States perspective, Inkster just wants the experience to be a positive for both teams. She has been a constant companion of Captain Pat Hurst throughout the prep process and while she is convinced of the capabilities of Team USA, Inkster understands that the ultimate goal is the ultimate goal no matter what drives the game forward.
“I think Team USA is good,” said the former captain. “You are young, but you are good. The same goes for the European team. You are young too. I just want both teams to have a great week. We are trying to expand the women’s golf game. I would love it if it was all about golf and camaraderie, relationships for the week and having fun. “
But with two teams packed with so many talent, the question is “who will win?” Question wants to be asked. Unsurprisingly, the lady has an idea of the answer.
“I think it will be a draw and we will keep the trophy.”
We’re still a week away from finding out, but when both teams arrive in Inverness all bets will be off and the game will officially take place in the 2021 Solheim Cup.