Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Solheim Cup Teams Are Set!

Meg Mallon (US) and Liselotte Neumann (EU) named their captain's picks after the RICOH Women's British Open on Sunday. Here are the complete teams, with dotted lines separating the various subgroups within each team.

First, here is the US Solheim Team:

American Solheim Team

On the US Team, the first 8 players listed came from the LPGA Tour points list; the next 2 came from the Rolex Rankings; and the last 2 are Meg's captain's picks:
  1. Stacy Lewis
  2. Paula Creamer
  3. Cristie Kerr
  4. Angela Stanford
  5. Brittany Lincicome
  6. Lexi Thompson
  7. Jessica Korda
  8. Brittany Lang
    -------------
  9. Lizette Salas
  10. Morgan Pressel
    -------------
  11. Gerina Piller
  12. Michelle Wie
And here is the European Solheim Team:

European Solheim Team

On the EU Team, the first 4 players come from the LET points list; the next four come from the Rolex Rankings; and the final 4 are Liselotte's captain's picks:
  1. Suzann Pettersen (Norway)
  2. Carlota Ciganda (Spain)
  3. Catriona Matthew (Scotland)
  4. Caroline Masson (Germany)
    -------------
  5. Beatriz Recari (Spain)
  6. Anna Nordqvist (Sweden)
  7. Karine Icher (France)
  8. Azahara Munoz (Spain)
    -------------
  9. Caroline Hedwall (Sweden)
  10. Jodi Ewart-Shadoff (England)
  11. Giulia Sergas (Italy)
  12. Charley Hull (England)
As usual, there are some controversies over the captain's picks for each side. I have my own thoughts on them, as usual...

On the US Team, some have questioned choosing Michelle Wie over Jennifer Johnson. Johnson had a win and was actually #11 on the US points list -- Pillar and Wie were #12 and #13 respectively, and the other 10 players were the top 10 on the points list. The conjecture is that Mallon chose two bombers, or perhaps is giving Wie a "sympathy pick" to help her get her game back on track. I suspect the reason is much simpler: Johnson missed the cut in the last 3 majors. Wie WD'ed from the US Women's Open but has otherwise made the cuts, even in that nasty weather in Scotland. Given Wie's point total, experience in big events, and her ability to pair with several US players, I can see why Mallon skipped Johnson despite her win earlier in the season.

Likewise on the EU Team, some have questioned choosing Charley Hull -- the youngest player ever to play on either side -- over Gladys Nocera, who was #5 on the LET points list, especially since Nocera is a veteran team member and the EU Team now has 6 rookies. However, Hull has been a Junior Solheim Cup member and Neumann was her captain. And the fact is that Charley has played extremely well as a rookie -- while Nocera does have a win and 3 other Top10s, Hull has 4 seconds and 1 other Top10! When you consider that Nocera was #3 on the LET Order of Merit and Hull was #4, these facts probably made Liselotte decide to groom her as a dependable future player. I think that's a fair decision.

Quite frankly, captains never get to have all the players they'd like to have. It looks to me as if both captains made picks that really strengthen their teams. I guess next week we'll get to see how well they really did.

The photos came from Solheim news posts at LPGA.com -- the US announcement and the EU announcement. The US page also has the transcript of the press conference where the captains named their picks.

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