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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Solheim Hubris? Not Me!

I suppose as an American I should be lamenting the loss of the Solheim Cup to Team Europe, but with 12 matches left to be played, that would be a bit premature.   Despite the Saturday afternoon Team Europe clean sweep, I confess to having enjoyed watching the Saturday matches unfold.  There were all hard-fought contests that went to the last hole or two in the round.  I saw some spectacular golf and, for me, that's the next best thing to playing golf, which I can't do right now because South Carolina is covered in rain and I don't enjoy mud-golf.

I so enjoyed Charley Hull's and Michelle Wie's long drives, watched some breathtaking, and sometimes just plain lucky putts.  I actually felt my knees buckle when Nordqvist shot that ace.  I ached with Beatriz Recari when she found the bunker twice in the last 2 holes of the final match.  She was clearly so physically exhausted that she had to reach deep just to swing her club hard enough to get out of the sand and onto the putting surface.

I've been there.  I've done that.  I identified, and when Recari executed those shots I cheered for her.  I didn't care that she's a Spaniard playing for Team Europe.  She was a golfer making two tough shots at the end of a tough, draining match that her team was winning.  That's a good enough reason for me to cheer.

So what does it mean that the American girls have never lost the Solheim on home ground?  That they can't lost the Solheim on home ground?  Surely they didn't believe that!  Surely Meg Mallon wouldn't let them believe that?

Right now, waiting for the Sunday pairs matches to tee off, the Americans chicks with sticks are on the losing side of the tournament.  Odds are that they won't be able to catch up.  But this is match play, where winners and losers can and do swap places in the blink of an eye, where it's not over until the last putt has dropped.

While Stacy Lewis, who's self-confidence is almost as fragile as my grandmother's Haviland china, may have given up when she got behind, Paula Creamer certainly didn't.  Lizette Salas fought and fought hard, made some great shots, delivered the goods on any number of putts.  I could actually feel Lexi Thompson's grit and determination and fighter's persistence as she and Jessica Korda played out their match to the final hole yesterday afternoon.

So who has given up?  The fans?  Well, that would be me.  The press?  Well, that would be me, too.  I'm just watching the tournament unfold, but check it out.  I haven't given up.  But I have to agree with  Les Bailey.  Team USA can't go it alone.  If we love golf, and if we're fans, we need to get on the cheerleader bandwagon.

In every round of golf there will be a winner and a loser, unless it's match play and the tie is treated like half a win.  We all know that when we step onto the first tee box, and if we didn't accept it we probably wouldn't tee it up?  But the other side of golf is this: there's always another shot to be taken, another round to be played, another tournament next year (or in the case of the Solheim, year after next).  In golf there is always the opportunity for redemption.

Let's enjoy Sunday at the Solheim!