Amid all the hype and camaraderie, team-building and feuds, rookies learning and veterans passing on wisdom, this year’s Solheim Cup will also witness a quirky little first taking place on the sidelines.
I say quirky because, despite the team captains having 13 Solheim Cup appearances between them, they have never faced each other on the course in the biennial event that pits the best of Europe’s female players against their American counterparts.
As we brace for the clash at Finca Cortesin in Spain next week, European captain Suzann Pettersen and American skipper Stacy Lewis will lead out their troops and the duo will go head-to-head in the competition for the first time — albeit as non-playing captains.
Norwegian Pettersen has nine previous Cups under her belt, while Lewis, four years younger at 38, has made five appearances.
As you might imagine, Pettersen (36) has played a considerably greater number of matches than Lewis (16), but it is still surprising that they never crossed paths and crossed swords on the Solheim Cup fairways, especially given the pair’s numerous appearances in the foursomes and fourballs formats of the matchplay event.
However, both captains are solely focused on the job in hand and will be up for the fight in Andalusia.
“This is the biggest honour of my career. My best-golfing memories are from the Solheim Cup,” said Pettersen, who won the Cup four times as a player. “You are out there with your teammates, your friends, and you all work for one goal. You fight for your friends, and you share incredibly precious moments.”
Lewis, the youngest American captain in Solheim Cup history, added: “For me it’s about the environment. I want to create a really positive, fun environment where the girls can be successful.”
So, while they will not be fighting for their flags on the fairways this time around, rather they will be pulling the strings behind the scenes, it goes to show there is a first time for everything — and we all welcome a little more spice to the Solheim Cup…