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