The Bet Enthusiast Report – The Solheim Cup
The European Solheim Cup team has never won the match away from home and in view of the relative quality and experience in each side the United States should be able to maintain that record with a relatively comfortable margin of victory in this year’s renewal. The 12 best female golfers from Europe and America will be competing over three days from Friday at the Colorado Golf Club in the state of that name.
This is the 13th Solheim Cup and the Americans have yet to be beaten on home soil. It’s also worth noting that Europe have never defended the competition as their four wins have been followed by a loss. Overall the home side have won the Cup eight times, compared to four wins for Europe and there is yet to be a tie.
Experience can be a massive factor in matchplay team competitions. For most of the year golf is an individual sport and although a short missed putt can be costly it does not have implications for other players. Many male players have questioned the tension involved in the Ryder Cup but once they play in a match they realise that the pressures are unique in the context of the sport.
An important element of these huge clashes between continents is the suitability of the pairings in foursomes and fourballs over the first two days. Famously Hal Sutton paired Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The animosity between the pair may have been exaggerated but clearly they will never be best mates and as a pairing they just did not compliment each other.
Solheim Cup captains should look at the footage when Woods left Mickelson with a tricky putt to halve a hole. Any tension away from the course between two players will be compounded when they are relying on each other to win points for their side. Sutton also approached the running order of the singles by sending his players out in order of world ranking.
Without wishing to be too hard on the man, few team captains of Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup sides surely approached the job as crassly as Sutton. He even forgot how many children he had fathered in his speech as losing captain after the Europeans had beaten his side. Bernhard Langer, the opposing captain, was too polite to laugh but his reputation was built on discipline and hard work while Sutton made short cuts in his role as non-playing leader of that Ryder Cup side.
There are six rookies in the European team for this year’s Solheim Cup while two less Americans are debuting in the competition. European players have played in a total of 17 previous matches while the Americans have 25 previous appearances in their record. Since the match began in 1990 Europe has won 47% of the points played for while the United States’s tally stands at 53%.
Those figures suggest that on historical form the United States are worthy favourite and playing at home will be a huge advantage. However, the 2013 European team members have won 48% of all their matches in the Solheim Cup which compares favourably with the 43% win rate for their opponents. However, another significant experience discrepancy is indicated by the 99 individual games contested by the Americans compared to 69 by players from Europe.
Apparently the US side were devastated to lose in Ireland two years ago. They were favourites ahead of the singles but despite having an edge in terms of world ranking and major championship success they faltered on the final day. The capitulation wasn’t quite as bad as the US side in last year’s Ryder Cup but even so they looked nailed on to win the Cup away from home for just the third time in the history of the event.
Stacy Lewis is the favourite to be the top point’s scorer for either side. At number two in the world standings she is the highest ranked player in the contest. She is also the most recent major champion having won the Women’s Open at St Andrews just two weeks ago. However, this is just her second appearance in the match and she lost three of four matches she played in 2011.
Cristie Kerr is a veteran of six matches and given her overall record and aptitude in matchplay golf she is unlikely to be rested over the three days. She has been in a winning and losing side and is one of the players who will be looking to have a more positive experience after the agonising loss two years ago. Paula Creamer is the Ian Poulter of the US side and she will be determined to improve on her win record of 60% in her fifth appearance.
For the Europeans Suzann Peterson is the highest ranked player at number three in the standings. She holed the winning putt in Ireland two years ago and played her best golf when the pressure was most intense. She has lost about one third of her matches in the Solheim Cup and looks a worthy favourite to score most points for her side this year. Sadly Laura Davies will not be that player this week as she failed to make the team automatically or with a Captain’s pick for the first time in the history of the event.
Betting on the correct score is a popular option in the Ryder Cup and odds are available for the overall score in this year’s Solheim Cup. There have been 28 points to play for in the last nine Solheim Cups and the average winning margin over that spell has been four points. The smallest winning margin has been the two pints by which Europe won in 2011.
Backing the United States to win by three or four points seems a good move. In the four home matches played over 28 matches the Americans have won twice by both three and four points. On each occasion they have won the singles so backing them ahead of the final day might be more lucrative then placing the bet at the start of the contest.