Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup The main pavilion

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup

I got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to catch the opening tee shots and the morning foursomes matches at the 2021 Solheim Cup.

Foursomes are an alternate shot match play format. One player tees off; her partner hits the next shot and so-forth. I think it’s the most challenging of the games played in team competitions because other than tee shots, you’re not playing your own ball: you’re dealing with the results of your partner’s shots.

As you undoubtedly know by now, it did not go well for the American squad.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup the ninth hole
Crowds around the ninth green at the Solheim Cup at Inverness

The Solheim Cup is unlike any golf experience save for the Ryder Cup. It’s loud, and the fans are openly rooting for players (though I will note that the European Players got plenty of cheers for good shots; I heard no boos, unlike at the Ryder Cup.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup Kang rouses the crowd
Danielle Kang

Getting loud takes some getting used to. Prior to her first shot in the amphitheater at the first and tenth tees, Danielle Kang worked to get the crowd to raise the roof. Then, as she took her stance, the crowd immediately quieted down. She backed off, and indicated that she wanted the crowd to cheer while she was taking her shot.

The crowd gave Kang what she wanted.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup Nordqvist hits the first shot
Anna Nordqvist hits the first tee shot of the competition.

I was very much impressed by the size and enthusiasm of the crowds at teh Solheim Cup. The amphitheater behind the first and tenth tees was full for the first tee shot. By the time the first group made the turn, every grandstand was full, and fans were two and three deep around every green.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup The 17th green
The hill surrounding the seventeenth green forms a natural amphitheater that seemed a perfect place to watch.

Another good place to sit and watch would be on the hill to the left of the ninth green facing the clubhouse.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup The twelfth green
Fans watching the action on the par 3 twelfth. Ann Nordvquist is in the bunker.

Away from the first and tenth teeing grounds, the center of gravity of the Solheim Cup was at the Meijer Pavilion. This massive, two-story structure is the largest ever built at an LPGA event. It is located along the length of the par three twelfth. The fourth green and the fifth tee boxes are on the back side of the structure.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup The Meijer Pavilion
More of the impressive Meijer pavilion.

Even for those not lucky enough to have a ticket to hang out in the Meijer Pavilion, the twelfth is a great hole to establish a position to see the groups play from tee to green.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup The Meijer Pavilion
The back side of the Meijer Pavilion.

I followed the first group out through their entire round. The American team was Austin Ernst and Danielle Kang. On the European side was Matilda Castren and Anna Nordqvist.

The lead pairings fought a tough, tight match. Europe went one-up on the par three third when Kang missed a par opportunity. Europe gained another hole on the fourth.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup Austin Ernst
Austin Ernst hits a shot on the seventh hole.

The American squad got back in the game when the Europeans three putted the fifth. The seventh and eighth also went to Kang and Ernst.

On the back nine, Europe birdied thirteen, fourteen and fifteen to go two up. The US team got one back on seventeen, but Europe walked off the eighteenth 1 Up.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup Danielle Kang
A sock exchange as Kang trades her knee length socks for ankle ones.

Ona humorous note, on the thirteenth hole, Danielle Kang traded her knee-length socks for a pair of ankle length ones. The sock exchange was conducted with woman who had been following the group inside the ropes throughout the round. I assume it was a relative; probably her mother.

Saturday Morning At The Solheim Cup the first and tenth teeing grounds
The amphitheater around the first and tenth tees as the second group prepares to tee off.

Solheim Cup organizers have done a very good job at Inverness. Crowds moved efficiently along paths and through rope gates manned by volunteers. Judging from the lack of lines, there were enough restrooms. It may have been the fact that I was there in the morning, but I didn’t see any lines at the food venues, either. Titos had a couple of stand-alone bars that were doing brisk business.

The Solheim Cup merchandise tent is large and well stocked. Still, if you’re going, I’d advise not waiting to buy something until the last minute. I picked up an UnderArmour polo shirt with the logo.

My only criticism is that there needs to be more scoreboards.

Below, you’ll find a few more photos from the Solheim Cup

Danielle Kang before the sock exchange.
Laura Davies, one of the European Vice Captains
Brittany Altomare hits a shot into the seventeenth green.
Nelly Korda
Georgia Hall
Leona Maguire
Lexi Thompson
Behind the sixth green.

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