TOLEDO, Ohio | If you count volunteers and special guests, 130,000 people flocked to the Inverness Club north of the Solheim Cup for the week of the Solheim Cup. And as victorious European captain Catriona Matthew said, “Imagine if the Europeans could have traveled (which they weren’t because of COVID-19). We could have been at 200,000. ”Then added Matthew. “I think it’s events like this that make the game and women’s golf grow. And this time we showed another spectacular performance. ”
Nobody has disputed this last point. With 16 of the 28 matches up to the 18th hole, this was the closest Solheim Cup in terms of individual matches in the history of the event – much closer than the 15-13 European victory might seem.
One of those 130,000 visitors to witness the drama was a woman named Dawn Grove, who, like everyone else, felt overwhelmed by the size and enthusiasm of the exhibition. Nobody knew that this was a record attendance for the Solheim Cup until the end. But everyone realized that they were in the middle of something special.
Grove had another reason for feeling an overwhelming sense of emotion in Toledo. She is Vice President and Corporate Counsel of Karsten Manufacturing, PING’s parent company. And she is the granddaughter of Karsten and Louise Solheim, the founders of the Solheim Cup.
With her grandmother, who first imagined these games, Dawn Grove sat down over and over again and answered a few questions to LPGA.com.
Q: Given the size and scope of this event, what do you think your grandmother would say??
Dawn: My grandmother traveled to every Solheim Cup she could, even until she was in her mid-90s, and I’ve been to a lot of them with her, so I have a good idea of what she’d say. Grandma Solheim would say that the Solheim Cup is one of our most important work. She and my grandfather founded the Solheim Cup to ensure that women go for high-level competition so that female golfers have opportunities similar to male golfers. She would be thrilled to see how the Solheim Cup continues to enhance female golfers and is excited to see the difference it is making in their lives.
Q: Where do you think it will go in the next 30 years?
Dawn: These world class competitors continue to push the competition to new heights. We saw over 130,000 viewers this week, along with over a million TV and online viewers who watched the Solheim Cup. As more and more people discover the joy of golf, I see (the) popularity of the event rise. This year, COVID travel restrictions limited the number of European fans who could attend in person. But who knows which technologies will still be available in thirty years so that perhaps millions of people can still experience the tournament as if everyone were on the golf course together?
With the extraordinary talent of these ladies, the excitement of the matchplay and playing for the honor of the team and the country, I think the Solheim Cup’s growth potential is unlimited.
Q: Could any of you have imagined that this event would be what it has??
Dawn: This is exactly what we were hoping for and is in line with our family’s vision for the event. Women’s golf originally had no place to be televised and meaningfully presented. My grandparents believed it was worth the millions of dollars we spent buying television coverage for the first few events so that the world could see and appreciate the talents of women golfers. As you know, the Solheim Cup attracts fans from all over the world and focuses on these hugely talented athletes. And reporting on television now happens naturally. This is one of the most exciting Solheim Cups ever and the energy in Toledo is great!
The Solheim Cup tournament today is a dream come true.
Q: Is this your grandmother’s legacy??
Dawn: My grandmother was proud to call the Solheim Cup her legacy.
The Solheim Cup 2023 will take place from September 18 to 24 at Finca Cortesin on the Costa del Sol, Andelucía, Spain.