I’ve been guilty in the past of overlooking Ladies Golf, but decided this year to get on the band wagon with the LPGA. Earlier in my tenure as the editor at Pro Golf Now demanded that I cover and write about LPGA events as well as men’s golf. I have always been confused as to why the LPGA can’t demand the the respect, and viewership afforded even the Web.com Tour. The Saturday action at the 2013 Solheim Cup bared the problem to the world.
When activity began at the Colorado Golf Club on Saturday morning, Team Europe already had our girls in a 5-3 hole before anyone hit a tee-shot. As the morning Foursomes got underway, I had checked the activity on Twitter, and although there was some support for Team USA, most of the activity at #SolheimCup was in favor of the the girls from Europe.
Throughout the morning I felt our girls were fighting back. We had a real opportunity to win all four matches and head into the afternoon fourballs competition tied at 6 & 6. I was especially excited about Michelle Wie and Brittany Lang putting a can of Whoop-Ass on Suzann Pettersen and Beatriz Recari.
Suzann Pettersen is the Queen Bee, and the heart and soul of Team Europe, and Recari is the cold-blooded enforcer. I felt by our girls getting to the queen, and the enforcer, the rest of Team Europe would fold up like a cheap ironing board, but that was not going to happen.
Then Anna Nordqvist hit her tee-shot at the 17th hole. All of a sudden, a match that we had a good chance of winning, came down to a tee-shot that had to be made in order to halve the hole and extend the match. Brittany Lincicome and rookie Lizette Salas played well throughout the morning, but had started to fade down the stretch. When they couldn’t close out their match with a win over Catorina Matthew and Caroline Masson and lost the final two holes for a tie, that would put the European Foot solidly on the neck of Team America.
Those two matches obviously left team USA with only one victory on a morning where they were dominating most of the action, and only gained a point and a half.
During the regular LPGA season, the South Koreans dominate the LPGA Tour. The American girls do not have a clear-cut star like a Tiger Woods to drive the sport here at home. I brought up the point a few months back that the LPGA in the US does not have clear-cut leadership from former American LPGA stars who have retired. Unlike men’s golf, where Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson provide guidance to the younger players.
I was criticized when I made this statement, with almost everyone saying the leadership comes from Anna Sorenstam. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Anna was waving a blue flag on Saturday. Why doesn’t Nancy Lopez, Amy Alcott, or someone from their era step up and be the face of the LPGA in America?
Team Europe is well coached, well supported and tough as nails. They came here to take the Solheim Cup back to Europe, and after the way they played coming down the stretch on Saturday afternoon on American soil, I don’t think our girls, or leadership can do anything about it.