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Friday, August 16, 2013

The Solheim Unfolding

There's really nothing worse that getting rained out or blacked out when you're keenly engaged in a golf tournament!  I'm sitting in the Oklahoma City airport and, after 4 days without an internet connection, I need to catch up on my email and see how the morning round at the Solheim went.  Guess which one got my attention!

Guess who really wants to be in Parker, Colorado, right now, rather than in Oklahoma City!

The American girls are down 2 points.  The 4 morning matches didn't go will for Team USA.  Stacy Lewis and Lizette Salas got clobbered by Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.  Brittany Lang and Angela Stanford couldn't hold up to Suzann Pettersen and Beatriz Recari.  Morgan Pressle and Jessica Korda put up a good fight against Catriona Matthew and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, but in the end they lost their match as well.  At least Christie Kerr and Paula Creamer snagged a point in their match against Karine Icher and Azahara Munoz, so Friday morning wasn't a complete shutout for Team USA.

Yikes!  Come on, girls.  Swing those sticks and fly those balls!  Get the match evened up!

Meg Mallon is playing all her rookies.  Liselotte Neumann decided to hold some of her rookies in reserve and sent in the seasoned Solheim players.  Big dogs against little dogs? I don't think that's the problem.

Match play is such a different kind of golf, and there are three variations in play at the Solheim.  The Friday morning matches used the alternate shots format.  For me, that's the most difficult format.  A 2-girl team plays a single ball, taking turns hitting the ball.  Barb and I have played as a team in the alternate shots format and we've found ourselves in some very interesting situations, or, more accurately, getting the ball out of interesting situations that our partner created with an errant shot.

For some reason, it's much more difficult to hit the ball out of the trees when Barb's shot put it there than when my shot put it there.  I don't entirely understand this, but I do know that it just doesn't feel quite right.  It takes some practice playing together to function as a well-oiled team in an alternate shots format.

This afternoon and Saturday afternoon the format changes to a 4-ball game: two teams of 2 players, all playing their own ball, the best ball taking the hole.  This is an easier format, more dependent on individual skill than on coordinated play.  I'll be at 30,000' while the first 4-ball matches are played, but as I get ready for my flight Team Europe is leading in 2 matches and Team USA is leading in 2 matches.  The playing field is a bit more even.  Now, if the American girls can recover mentally from the morning trouncing and get back on their game, we can expect a more balanced tournament.

But to be down 2 matches at the start of the tournament is demoralizing and golf is, above all things, a contest of emotional will and mental stamina.  In golf, as in life, the winners are the ones to stay ahead of the negative energy.