Solheim Cup: Team USA counting down to team selection

Team USA Captain Juli Inkster. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Team USA Captain Juli Inkster. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Solheim Cup fever is building and Captain Juli Inkster talked about what the Cup means to women’s golf at a Des Moines Golf and CC media event this week.

Solheim Cup fever is building. Captain Juli Inkster took Jessica Korda and Austin Ernst, both Team USA hopefuls, with her to a media day event at Des Moines Golf and Country Club this week, where everybody’s moving into countdown mode.

As Captain Inkster reminded everyone, there’s still a lot of golf to be played before Team USA final selections on August 6, at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Nevertheless, the competition for a spot on the team is tightening.

The biennial Solheim Cup is so much more than a golf tournament. As Inkster, Korda, and Ernst explain, it’s about team and country and the passion of competition. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say if you’re an American girl of any age with a bag of sticks, you secretly dream of playing in the Solheim Cup for Team USA!

Team USA selection process

If the top eight Americans in Solheim Cup points were selected today, they would be:

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1. Lexi Thompson (612 points)
2. Stacy Lewis (386.5)
3. Gerina Piller (350.5)
4. Cristie Kerr (338.5)
5. Jessica Korda (299)
6. Brittany Lang (247)
7. Austin Ernst (227)
8. Michelle Wie (214)

If you’ve been monitoring the Solheim Cup points rankings for Team USA then you’re already aware that Michelle Wie has just made it into the magical top-eight. Her T2 finish at the Meijer LPGA Classic pushed her past her 2013 and 2015 Solheim Cup teammate Angela Stanford. I’m not surprised. Wie has been steadily improving as the 2017 season has progressed. Look for her to move further into the top eight list in the weeks remaining before the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

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Once the first eight Team USA members are determined, then two additional members not already on the list will be selected based on their standing in the Rolex Rankings. Again, if team selection took place today, those two would be 37th ranked Mo Martin and 40th ranked Brittany Lincicome.

That leaves a number of players hoping for a tap on the shoulder from Captain Inkster, who still has two discretionary captain’s picks to fill out her team roster.

Who might some of these likely, fortunate be? Although Inkster isn’t talking about who she’s watching and considering, a look at the Solheim Cup points is one way to speculate about her choices, and that would put these eight players at the front of the virtual line.

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Angela Stanford (211 points)
Danielle Kang (202.5)
Lizette Salas (162.5)
Jennifer Song (134)
Marina Alex (128.5)
Alison Lee (124)
Paula Creamer (100.5)
Morgan Pressel (83)

Taking things a bit further, Captain Inkster might be inclined to favor experienced Solheim Cup competitors as she contemplates her captain’s picks. That would narrow the list down to Stanford, Salas, Lee, Creamer, and Pressel.

But Captain Inkster hasn’t made me privy to her crystal ball or her private thoughts, so, like everyone else, I will content myself with speculation about her final captain’s picks.

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Golf Channel and NBC will provide nearly 30 hours of live Solheim Cup action beginning with the opening ceremony on Thursday, August 17 and continuing through the conclusion of the singles matches on Sunday, August 20. And ProGolfNow will continue to provide updates as we lead up to the 2017 Solheim Cup.