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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 164
THE Solheim Cup is fast becoming must-see rather than must-flee TV. Think Ryder Cup with PMS (disclaimer: that’s my wife’s appraisal after watching some of the coverage this past weekend – honest!) and you have a recipe for drama that’s hard to change channels from. Considering there was ample discussion pre-tournament about a mutual desire to keep conflict to a minimum and to limit the level of “rah rah” over-enthusiasm at this edition (meaning face-paint sales plummeted), the fact that multiple incidents surfaced tells even casual golf fans that there’s an unsurpassed level of feeling to these biennial matches between Europe and America. And that makes for compelling golf. There remain some drawbacks, though. The event’s history is still nowhere near Ryder Cup status, and by far the greatest crime committed on Solheim Cup fairways every other September is the pace of play. Six-hour four-ball matches with 16 players on the course? You’d be chucked out of some golf clubs for such dawdling. But the angst-meter always seems dialled the whole way up for all concerned, which makes the three-day contest akin to a child bouncing a balloon on a hot surface: you just know at some point it’s going to burst and wind up in tears. For a while in Germany it appeared the controversy would be the mid-event discussion between captains Carin Koch and Juli Inkster and their assistants about what exactly constitutes giving advice from the sidelines, an issue smouldering since the whipping the Europeans handed the Americans in Colorado two years ago. Yet that particular fire was doused rather discreetly. Instead, the bushfire came early on Sunday morning as a key four-ball match concluded after an overnight delay. All-square on the 17th green, US rookie Alison Lee scooped up her ball after thinking her short par putt had been conceded by opponents Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull. It hadn’t. The correct outcome from there depends on your viewpoint. By the book, Lee made a grievous error and it cost her team the chance at a full point; by the standards of sportsmanship, the Europeans had a chance to overturn an advantage they didn’t deserve but either wouldn’t or couldn’t. The incident prompted a couple of ‘F-bombs’ on live TV from Pettersen after the match, tears from Hull and anguish all around. Inkster called it “BS, as far as I’m concerned”. Koch did as any captain would do and stood by her players. All the unpleasantness did serve to highlight two things: firstly, a grey area exists between the rules of golf and the game’s accepted etiquette, and secondly, this is what can happen when motivated, passionate sportspeople move out of the self-absorbed realm of individual competition and into a team environment for one week every two years. But that’s what makes it captivating – the notion that these skilled, trained professionals are removed from their comfort zones for a week and forced to both adapt and keep a cool head. Which is easier said than done. I can’t wait for the two sides to lock horns again. OTG the VIEW WHEN GOLF’S VOLCANO EXPLODES. THIS YEAR’S SOLHEIM CUP ADDED FIRE AND ICE TO AN AT-TIMES HO-HUM SPECTACLE. by Steve Keipert Golf Australia deputy editor Awarded #1 Overall Winner in the ‘2015 MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Driver Awards’ # 1 MOST WANTED DRIVER 2015 LEARN MORE
OTG Express 163
OTG Express 165