Monday, September 9, 2013

Solheim Reflections: Football Golf

Sometimes golf is more than just the top five names on the leader board; sometimes it's about the spirit of the game and the passion of it's fans from states and countries all over the world.  Every two years golf fans have and players have the opportunity to enjoy The Solheim Cup.

Nothing prepares golf aficionados  for the exhilaration of attending the Solheim Cup.  Maybe it's the chanting  "USA, USA, USA" or "Olay Olay Olay," the supportive vigor of the crowd, or the crazy costumes of the fans.  
Whatever it is, it is the most elaborate display of team support and loyalty to the game of any other Ladies Professional Golf championship. The 2013 Solheim is written history, filled with historical firsts: the youngest two players Charley Hull and Lexi Thompson; the 5 wins by Caroline Hedwell; the defeat of our American team on USA soil, and more.  Even in defeat Jack and I agree we cheered on our team with boisterous cries like we were watching football golf, but we didn't walk away losers.  Instead we walked away thrilled to have been a part of women's golf history.  We walked away hot, tired, hungry, and suntanned, but filled with respect for twenty-four young women, their caddies, and captains, who played with their hearts and souls for their countries.

B. Lincicome putting from tier to tier on hole 11.

For me, there were more highlights than the camera was allowed to take, and more than I can fill in a short page.  On the first day of practice we followed our American team, and we scouted out places to sit or stand for the three days of competition.  I  found the number of people in each foursome rather distracting, so I wondered how the girls managed to focus and think with caddies, coaches, and captains swarming every hole, not to mention the throngs of fans extending arms with flags, hats, shirts, and books for autographing.  The lady golfers happily obliged.  The bleachers were full even on the practice rounds, so we found ourselves observing from hillsides under shade trees, near landing zones, and green side.  

Catrina cheering on her team.
Another day we spent following the European team and applauding their skills and focus with as much zeal as we did for the Americans.  After all,  they are all LPGA pros whom we watch and cheer for weekly on TV.  Catrina Matthew has always been one of our favorites, much like Juli Inskter (both working moms) we've watch her over the decades, and she didn't let us down.

The Solheim site was the Colorado Golf Club designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bert Core, two men who greatly admire the work of Perry Maxwell, who designed my home course, Prairie Dunes.  We were not surpised by the undulating greens that were made even more difficult by the pull of gravity away from the mountains.

On Thursday, dressed in her flag regalia, Morgan Pressel walked hole 15 alone.  Suddenly, a little girl waved and cheered her on.  Morgan walked over to the little girl, took her by the hand and together they walked down the long par 5 chatting and laughing. The fans all watched, smiling like proud parents.

The line for the opening ceremonies began forming at 3:00, while the ceremonies didn't begin until 7.  We choose to watch the Junior Girls Solheim group play a three hole match play against former champions like Rosie Jones.    

Rosie Jones.
We then hoped we had the patience to sit in the heat of the sun and wait for the ceremonies.  Needless to say, we did not get there early enough for prime seats, but we had fun.  For two hours people milled about waving flags and banners, and chanting USA USA USA or Olay Olay Olay.  While some of us drank every drop of water we could others brought beer, which seemed to elevate the noise and spirit level measurably.
View from ground level.

At last the flag waving ceremony to welcome the teams began.  We stood and cheered for them all, the greatest women golfers of their time, no matter which team colors they wore.  We were just proud to be Americans, on that day, and every day.
Team asst. captains Lora Diaz, Dottie Pepper followed by Paula Creamer.


  1. What a great experience you had! The course looked beautiful on TV, too.

  2. It was truly a unique and fun experience. Glad you and Jack got to go. cb