With 10 months to go until The 2013 Solheim Cup team is announced at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in St. Andrews, the team as it lies will be a mixture of experience and youthful exuberance.
The European team selection process remains as per previous, with the first four places allocated to players from the 2013 LET Solheim Cup Points list, plus the leading four Europeans from the Rolex World rankings. Captain Liselotte Neumann will then have four picks to make up her troops.
Currently, three Solheim-rookies are leading the LET points list, headed by Caroline Masson of Germany. After Kaymer showed his German efficiency in sealing victory for the Ryder Cup team in Medinah, Masson will hope to follow her countryman to European glory. Masson’s debut victory on tour came at the South African Women’s Open in July, she has also had three second place finishes this season. Guilia Sergas of Italy, and Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg are the two other rookies in place. Neither has won on tour this year, but consistent top ten finishes have placed them in prime position.
Diana Luna narrowly missed out on automatic qualification in 2011, and will be eager to line out for Europe again. A member of the 2009 who were defeated at Rich Harvest farms, she has experience of playing against the USA on their home soil in front of USA fans. Diana was pipped to the post last week at the Lactose Ladies French Open, finishing second and securing valuable points which takes her into the 4th automatic spot.
Typically, the Rolex world ranking spots have been claimed by the experienced European players who play more in the US and no change this year, with 2011 heroines Suzann Pettersen, Azahara Munoz , Catriona Matthew, and Anna Nordqvist* currently occupying the leading positions. It would be difficult to imagine a Solheim cup without Pettersen, Europe’s strongest player, whose birdie-birdie-birdie finish in Killeen Castle to win against Michelle Wie last September was one of the most impressive finishes in the tournaments history.
All showed their metal at Killeen Castle in 2011, and one would imagine that Captain Neumann and her vices Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch would be eager to include them again.
But who are we missing? There are a plethora of young, vibrant players eager to get the nod from Liselotte as one of her captain’s picks, including current Rookie of the year Carlota Ciganda and double winner this year Carly Booth. The captain may also look to the high-performing European rookies based in the USA this year, such as Swede Karin Sjodin and England’s Jodie Ewart. Eight of last year’s team are currently outside automatic qualification- legendary Laura Davies, Mel Reid, Sophie Gustafson, Caroline Hedwall, Christel Boejlon, Sandra Gal, Mimmi Hjorth and Karen Stupples.
The difficulty Liselotte is faced with in her wild-card picks serves to highlight the strength of European ladies golf at the moment. With emerging talent and strong experience, Europe will go to Colorado Golf Club aiming to clinch their first win on USA soil, and keep The Solheim Cup this side of the water for another 2 years.
In 2013, there will be increased points available at the majors and LET events, so there is certainly plenty of time for the standings to change as the countdown to Colorado continues.
*since time of writing Sandra Gal has replaced Anna Nordqvist in the 8th automatic spot 15/10/12