2023 Solheim Cup Preview, How to Watch, Prediction
EUROPE will attempt to create a piece of history in Spain this week as they attempt to beat the USA for a third successive time in the Solheim Cup, something they have never achieved before.
And the European team, captained by Suzann Petterson, will surely fancy their chances of another victory. In Celine Boutier they have arguably the best golfer in the world on current form and most of the team have played sparkling golf throughout the year.
This is the 18th edition and will be played at Finca Cortesin golf course in Malaga. Europe were captained by Catriona Matthew for the last two tournaments, guiding them to success in both 2019 and 2021. Pettersen captains Europe for the first time in 2023. Pat Hurst was the losing captain in 2021, and is replaced by this time by Stacy Lewis.
Matthew is a quiet and reserved character. Petterson wears her heart on her sleeve and you can guarantee that she will be flitting all over the course, trying to bring out the very best in her players.
There will be three days of action, with a total of 28 points on offer, meaning a target of 14.5 is required to win the cup. If Europe can get to 14 they will retain the trophy. Friday and Saturday will see foursomes in the morning and fourballs in the afternoon, followed by 12 singles matches on Sunday.
Petterson knows all about the pressure of holing the winning putt. She famously drained an eight-footer on the final green at Gleneagles four years ago to secure the trophy for Europe, and then immediately announced her retirement.
She had been a controversial captain’s pick, having played little or no competitive golf in the run-up to the event. But she rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion, and will be expecting her team to do the same in Spain.
She has three rookies in her team - Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh, and Swedish pair Maja Stark and Linn Grant.
Grant only joined the paid ranks last year and has been a winning machine ever since, while Stark is a thrilling golfer to watch. She knows only one way to play the game, and that is to attack. If she is in form this week you can be sure that no American will fancy facing her.
Boutier has had a dream year. The French golfer won the Evian, one of women’s golf’s majors, in sensational style and followed that by claiming the Scottish Open the next week and finishing in a tie for 16th at the Women’s Open. She also won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in March, beating teammate Georgia Hall in a playoff.
Boutier has a wonderful Solheim Cup record. She has played in the event twice, winning five of her seven matches, losing one and halving the other.
There is every chance that Patterson will partner her with Charley Hull. The English golfer finished second at the US Women’s Open and also contended at the Women’s Open. This will be her sixth Solheim Cup and her record is sensational - she has played in 19 matches, winning 11, losing five and halving three.
Hull made her debut in 2013 when she was just 17. She beat Paula Creamer 5&4 in the singles and then asked Creamer to autograph her golf ball! She later admitted that she was starstruck to be playing against one of her idols. It was an unforgettable moment.
Petterson has plenty of other world-class talent to call upon, including Ireland’s Leona Maguire, who had a wonderful debut two years ago, and former Women’s Open champion Hall.
But let’s not underestimate this American side.
Just a few years ago, Lilia Vu contemplated walking away from golf but this year she became the first American since Juli Inkster in 1999 to win multiple majors in the same season, claiming the Chevron Championship and AIG Women’s Open, rising to No. 1 in the world. This came after she won her maiden LPGA Tour title in Thailand. It has been a year she will never forget.
Angel Yin is another who has been through some rough times. But she lost the Chevron in a playoff to Vu while recording another three top-10s, including at the Women’s Open.
But perhaps the player Europe have most reason to fear is Rose Zhang. After a stellar amateur career she turned professional earlier this year and won on her LPGA Tour debut, the first player to do so since Beverly Hanson in 1951. She then recorded three straight major championship top-10s, rising to No. 31 in the world and qualifying for the U.S. team.
And that’s before you even start to consider what the likes of Lexi Thompson and Nelly Korda bring to the table.
In Pettersen and Lewis both teams go into the contest with feisty characters as captains so don’t be surprised to see things getting a little tasty on the course over the course of three days.
It is a difficult contest to call but I believe that Europe should just have the edge.
How to Watch The 2023 Solheim Cup
Thursday, September 21, 5pm, Sky Sports Golf, Opening Ceremony
Friday, September 22, 6.30am, Sky Sports Golf, Day One
Saturday, September 23, 6.30am, Sky Sports Golf, Day Two
Sunday, September 24, 9am, Sky Sports Golf, Final day Singles
Solheim Cup Facts & Stats
The inaugural match was held in 1990 with just eight players on either team.
In 1996 it was expanded to 12 players per side, competing for 28 points, exactly the same as the Ryder Cup.
The USA have won it 10 times.
Europe have won on seven occasions.
The USA have won three consecutive matches on two occasions - Europe hope to emulate that feat for the first time in 2023.
Laura Davies has played in the Solheim Cup on a record 12 occasions and is also the record points scorer with 25.
Juli Inkster is the record scorer in singles with seven points won.
Annika Sorenstam is the record foursomes points winner with 11.5 - 11-3-1.
Cristie Kerr is the record fourballs points scorer, also with 11.5 - 11-5-1.
Caroline Hedwall is the only player from either side to record a maximum five points, achieved in 2013.
Charley Hull is the youngest player, aged 17 years 149 days in 2012.
Juli Inkster is the oldest player, aged 51 years 91 days in 2011.
Inkster also holds the record as the only woman to captain either side on three occasions.
Europe’s biggest win came at Colorado Golf Club in 2013 when they triumphed 18-10.
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