Ex­pect fire­works

Europe and the USA re­new hos­til­i­ties from Au­gust 14-20. Here are the five things you need to know.

Golf World (UK) - - The Spin -

IT’S BE­ING PLAYED OVER TWO COUR­SES

The 15th Sol­heim Cup is be­ing played at Des Moines Golf and Coun­try Club in Iowa, a club with two Pete Dye-de­signed 18-hole cour­ses. The course will be a hy­brid of the two 18s. The 1st to 9th are the 10th to 18th from the North Course. The 10th-16th are the 1st to 7th from the South Course, which also pro­vides the 17th and 18th holes. Com­bined, the com­pos­ite will play 6,894 yards at par 72. “The golf course is go­ing to hold its own. Very, very tricky greens,” US cap­tain Juli Inkster said. “You’re go­ing to have to be pinpoint on your irons. You’re go­ing to have to be able to make some putts. So right af­ter that Bri­tish Open I’m go­ing to give those guys a lit­tle home­work and they’re go­ing to start work­ing on their putting.”

EUROPE GO IN HOPE NOT EX­PEC­TA­TION

Qual­i­fy­ing ends af­ter the Ri­coh Women’s Bri­tish Open on Au­gust 6, when the 12 names (10 au­to­matic plus two cap­tain’s picks) se­cure their places. At the time of go­ing to press, on pa­per, the United States has a clear edge. All 12 of the play­ers in their top eight au­to­matic places are ranked inside the world’s top 50 – com­pared with only four of Europe’s. Right now, Amer­ica’s av­er­age rank­ing is 24.25, Europe’s more than twice as high at 59.625. Sol­heim Cups are not played on pa­per and they are only num­bers, but it’s cause for con­cern.

NO­BODY MEN­TION ‘THAT PUTT’

The Suzann Pet­tersenAli­son Lee in­ci­dent at St Leon-Rot left a black cloud hang­ing over Amer­ica’s re­mark­able vic­tory in 2015 – the Nor­we­gian’s re­fusal to con­cede a short putt al­most caus­ing a riot. Can we ex­pect the charged at­mos­phere to carry over to this year? Both cap­tains moved fast to stress not. “It’s done, it’s in the past, we’re mov­ing on,” said Amer­i­can Juli Inkster. Op­po­site num­ber An­nika Soren­stam agreed. “Num­ber one on our list is that it’s all about sports­man­ship and fair play. We don’t want to leave it the way it was in Ger­many.”

PETTERSEN WON’T HEAR THE HATERS

Suzann Pettersen apol­o­gised in the af­ter­math of ‘gim­megate’, though how much her hand was forced we may never know. What’s clear is that she sees no rea­son to apol­o­gise again ahead of Des Moines. “I’m so over the in­ci­dent. It wasn’t some­thing we tried to do (de­lib­er­ately),” she shrugged. “I don’t know if it got taken out of pro­por­tion, but it ob­vi­ously blew up a lot big­ger than any­one thought.” If Pettersen plays and the crowd turns hos­tile, she says she’ll take in­spi­ra­tion from Alison Nicholas, play­ing the 18th en route to win­ning the US Open in 1997. “She couldn’t hear a thing, she’d si­lenced the crowds and that’s how you do it. Play bet­ter. Make putts. [Then] they’ll go quiet.”

THE SUBPLOT: INKSTER VS. SOREN­STAM

One of the en­dur­ing im­ages of the 2015 Sol­heim Cup was of US cap­tain Inkster and Euro­pean vice-cap­tain Soren­stam en­gaged in a heated con­ver­sa­tion af­ter the Swede had been ac­cused of of­fer­ing ad­vice to her team – some­thing only the cap­tain is per­mit­ted to do and some­thing the Swede ve­he­mently de­nied. Three times a vice-cap­tain pre­vi­ously, Soren­stam was asked af­ter the 2015 de­feat if she would fi­nally be­come Euro­pean cap­tain so that there would be no more prob­lems about giv­ing ad­vice. “I don’t think that was very nice,” she replied. Maybe it wasn’t, but it may well be true. The sus­pi­cion that she said yes to make amends for 2015 adds spice to an in­trigu­ing en­counter.

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