Pro golf as a team sport exciting to watch, experience
Team USA poses with the Solheim Cup during closing ceremony of The Solheim Cup at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in August 2017 in West Des Moines, Iowa. STUART FRANKLIN/GETTY IMAGES

When you think of the game of golf, you usually envision individuals playing against other golfers. However, at the end of each golf season, the professionals have a number of team events.

For the men professionals, it is the Ryder Cup, which has the American pros playing against the European professionals. It occurs every two years, with the next event occurring in 2020 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

This November, the President's Cup will feature American professionals playing against non-Europeans professionals. It will be played at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, with Tiger Woods as captain of the American team.

For me, being an LPGA Professional, my favorite team tournament is the Solheim Cup, which occurs every two years with U.S. women professionals playing the European women professionals.

I have been to the last six Solheim Cups, traveling to Sweden, Ireland, Germany, as well as Illinois, Colorado and Iowa, and will be attending the upcoming event in Scotland. The ladies will be playing Sept. 9-15 at the Gleneagles Golf Club, which has held previous Ryder cup matches.

Team Europe has the more established team with nine veterans and only three rookies. European captain Catriona Matthew of Scotland is excited about her team. "I feel the experience of our team will be a great advantage to us along with the home crowd support," she said.

The United States team will be without veterans Michele Wie (injured), Gerina Pillar and Britany Lincicome, both of whom had babies this past year and haven't played enough events to accumulate the needed points.

The team will also be without Cristy Kerr, who has the most wins and points in U.S. history of the Solheim Cup. Third time captain Julie Inkster had two captain's picks, and she chose veterans Stacy Lewis and Morgan Pressel, both past major champions with a lot of Solheim Cup experience. The U.S. team will have five rookies on their team.

The format for all team events is interesting and very competitive. The morning sessions are foursome events, followed by fourball in the afternoon. The final day is 12 singles matches. In case of a tie, the team who won the previous year will get a half point to break the tie.

As I write this, I have already packed my red, white and blue and am planning to cheer the United States team to its third straight win.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com


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