Solheim Cup time — Anna Nordqvist’s winning press conference — Must-click women’s golf links
Some surprises, some expected choices for the Solheim Cup
With the conclusion of the AIG Women’s Open on Sunday came the announcement of the finalized Solheim Cup teams for the United States and Europe in the early hours of Monday morning. While it seemed fairly clear who would make the cut for each squad, there were still some unexpected choices made by captains Pat Hurst and Catriona Matthew.
Let’s break down some of the obvious choices and not-so-obvious surprises concerning the final selections for each team.
Surprise: No Stacy Lewis
This decision FLOORED me. Though Stacy hasn’t played well in 2021, she is a Toledo native and one would think that it would be an advantage to have a hometown hero on the team. Considering she’s got a decent Solheim Cup record, it seemed like Captain Hurst would look hard at picking her, but she instead elected to have Lewis serve as an assistant captain.
I’m sure she will be great in that role and I’m happy that she’ll be involved with Team USA in some capacity. However, I thought a veteran stalwart like Stacy would be more on the radar when the picks were decided.
No Surprise: Team Europe picks
While Stacy Lewis not getting a nod was a surprise, Team Europe’s six captains picks were not even slightly shocking. Beany chose to take three rookies in Matilda Castren, Leona Maguire, and Nanna Koerstz-Madsen and three veterans in Mel Reid, Celine Boutier, and Madelene Sagstrom.
Castren was a lock after her wins at the LPGA Mediheal Championship and the LET’s Gant Ladies Open, the latter of which gave her status on the European circuit making her eligible to make the team. Maguire has consistently been in the mix all season and Koerstz-Madsen comes off a hot week at the season’s final major finishing tied for fifth.
As for the veterans, no one plays better under a Union Jack than Mel Reid, and the Englishwoman’s fiery personality will be great in the team room. Boutier has winning experience having been on the 2019 team at Gleneagles and Sagstrom, like Koerstz-Madsen, is coming off a T-2 at Carnoustie.
Every single player teeing it up for the Europeans has a good reason for being on the team and though it seemed like Team USA was destined to handily take back the cup, I think we are going to have quite the battle on our hands.
Surprise: Yealimi Noh gets a nod
Like the rest of the women’s golf world, I wasn’t expecting Yealimi Noh to make the Solheim Cup team. No offense to the 20-year-old, second-year rookie, but she just wasn’t even on my radar as someone that Captain Hurst would consider as a pick.
With that being said, Noh does have 3 top-ten finishes in her last five starts, including a solo third at the Amundi Evian Championship, so if we are going with the hot hand, this choice absolutely makes sense. I’ll be curious to see how she does in her debut.
No Surprise: Mina Harigae makes the team
Mina Harigae is a name that you may not be familiar with, but she totally belongs on this Solheim Cup team. Harigae has been playing with a ton of confidence since 2020 which saw four wins from the California native on the Cactus Tour and over the course of 2021, she’s carded four top-ten finishes.
It was a T-13 at the AIG Women’s Open last week and a T-5 at the ISPS Handa World Invitational before that so yet again Hurst is going with the hot hand. With nothing to lose, look for stellar play from the rookie who’s sure to make some noise in Toledo.
Surprise: Teams appear evenly matched
Coming into the 2021 Solheim Cup, I was expecting it to feel like Team USA already had the upper hand with powerhouses like Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, and Danielle Kang making up the meat of the squad. Though, as the smoke has cleared, it seems that Team Europe is just as loaded with young talent and Solheim stalwarts setting up fans for an epic battle at Inverness.
The Gleneagles teams in 2019 had the same kind of feeling and we all remember how magnificently that ended with Suzann Pettersen holing the winning, mic-dropping putt for Team Europe, and then announcing her retirement mere moments later. If there’s even half of that drama in two weeks in Toledo—and I have a strong feeling there will be—we are in for the most entertaining of treats.
No Surprise: Both teams are loaded with impeccable talent
Of course, this is obvious. It’s the best of the best from both Europe and the United States. But what’s especially remarkable is the level of talent from top to bottom on both teams. There isn’t a weak player in the bunch and most of them have won on the LPGA or Ladies European Tour. With such a high level of skill from players on both sides, Inverness is sure to see exhilarating matches played as the best in the world duke it out for the love of team and love of country.
So grab your face paint and either your blue and gold or red, white, and blue. It’s Solheim Cup time, baby!
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Anna Nordqvist wins her third major at the AIG Women’s Open. (via LPGA.com)
The final women’s major of the year sees a victorious Anna Nordqvist. (via LPGA.com)
Anna Nordqvist took home the AIG Women’s Open title on Sunday. (via Golfweek.com)
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist nabs third major at Carnoustie. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Here’s how Anna Nordqvist got out of her winning slump. (via GOLF.com)
Carnoustie was daunting and Nordqvist rose to the challenge. (via GOLF.com)
It was Anna Nordqvist that took home the final major of the LPGA Tour season. (via GOLF.com)
Anna Nordqvist ended a four year winless drought with her win at Carnoustie. (via GolfDigest.com)
More on Anna Nordqvist’s win. (via GolfChannel.com)
Lizette Salas overcame a tough mental test at Carnoustie to finish T-2 in the last major of the season. (via LPGA.com)
Despite an ugly finish, Nanna Koerstz-Madsen was happy with her performance in Scotland. (via LPGA.com)
A dreaded shank ended the chances of Nanna Koerstz-Madsen at the AIG Women’s Open. (via GOLF.com)
More on Nanna Koerstz Madsen’s shank out of the bunker on 18 on Sunday at Carnoustie. (via GolfChannel.com)
What do you do if a seagull picks up your golf ball? Madelene Sagstrom found out in the AIG Women’s Open.
Amateur Louise Duncan had a chance at the title at Carnoustie last week. (via GolfDigest.com)
Here’s the purse breakdown for the AIG Women’s Open. (via Golfweek.com)
My article on Yealimi Noh’s good play at the AIG and how she’s bounced back from struggles faced earlier this season. (via LPGA.com)
My article on Mina Harigae and how she finds herself on the Solheim Cup team after her good play at the AIG Women’s Open. (via LPGA.com)
Check out this insane bunker shot from Lydia Ko at Carnoustie. (via Golfweek.com)
Patty Tavatanakit wins the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. (via LPGA.com)
Patty Tavatanakit edges Nelly Korda for the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. (via Golfweek.com)
Here’s who Captains Pat Hurst and Catriona Matthew picked to round out their Solheim Cup teams. (via LPGA.com)
There were three rookies among Team Europe captain Catriona Matthew’s picks. (via LPGA.com)
More on the three rookie that were picked for Team Europe. (via Golfweek.com)
Here are the six players that automatically qualified for Team Europe. (via LPGA.com)
Here are the nine players that automatically qualified for Team USA. (via LPGA.com)
Stacy Lewis wasn’t picked for the U.S. Solheim Cup team but will serve as an assistant captain. (via Golfweek.com)
This is the full Team USA squad. (via Golfweek.com)
This is the full Team Europe squad. (via Golfweek.com)
More on the picks for Team USA ahead of the Solheim Cup. (via GolfChannel.com)
The Buick LPGA Shanghai has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (via Golfweek.com)
What to look out for at the Didricksons Skafto Open. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Take a look at who is leading the Race to Costa del Sol. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Here are the top storylines at the Circling Raven Championship on the Symetra Tour. (via SymetraTour.com)
The featured groups at the Circling Raven Championship. (via SymetraTour.com)
It was a strong showing for amateurs at Q-School led by medalist Gina Kim. (via GolfChannel.com)
The cool story of Hailey Davis who teed it up at Q-School trying to become the first transgender woman to earn a tour card. (via Golfweek.com)
Dame Laura Davies has no plans to retire anytime soon. (via GolfDigest.com)
The Senior LPGA Championship is being played this week at French Lick Resort. (via LPGA.com)
Juli Inkster, Trish Johnson, and Dame Laura Davies are the headliners at the Senior LPGA Championship. (via LegendsoftheLPGA.com)
The Curtis Cup is being played in Wales this week. (via Golfweek.com)
This female amateur made history at the Utah Open. (via Golfweek.com)
Cindy Miller wins the 2021 Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award. (via LPGA.com)
Deb Vangellow wins the 2021 Ellen Griffin Rolex Award. (via LPGA.com)
Tweets of the Week
Five at The IX: AIG Women’s Open champion Anna Nordqvist’s winning press conference
There was so much going on in this final round. I’m wondering if you can tell us what you felt was the most important moment for you out there today that helped it go in your direction?
I obviously played really solid in the beginning. I hit a great hybrid in there on 6 to two-putt for birdie. I gave myself a good opportunity on 7 and hit a really good 6-iron there on 8. So made that putt and then made the putt on 9, too, which was a bit of a bonus. I hit a great pitch shot in on 11 and then horseshoed that putt and got a little quick and the ball actually plugged in the hazard there on 12. I hit a great par putt, but I think that staying patient
throughout those two holes, and I hit a great 6-iron in on the next hole and a really good 3-wood in for like 20 feet
for eagle on 14. So I think just battling through the 11th and 12th hole, and then coming back and just being very solid in.
You hit some remarkable putts from off the greens today. Can you tell us, what’s the secret to hitting that shot, and what do you feel like was the most important one that you hit?
I worked a lot on speed control this week. My speed was a little bit off I felt like today on some of the birdie putts. But I think when you’re out of position, I just feel like I need to get myself back in position and give
myself a par putt. Like the one on 10 was fantastic; it sat down a little bit and so I couldn’t really chip that one. And 16 was such a hard hole, you’re basically just trying to play for that front portion and give yourself a long putt. But the one on 16 was really sweet. I would say the best lag putt of the day was the one on 18 when it mattered the most.
You’ve been such a fighter throughout your career, what’s kept you fighting these last four years to get back to this point?
There’s just something about golf that keeps driving me. I hate losing probably more than I like winning. I think all the controversy and all the downs, and having my caddie and husband there pushing me every day being a rock; I hate to give up. I feel like things have been coming together, and I saw a lot of good things coming last year and a lot of good things happening this year. I felt like last week at The Scottish Open, I played really well. I hit the ball really well in that wind. So I think that was a confidence boost for me.
What do you feel like has been the biggest challenge for you since that last win at Evian, and what was the difference here this week?
Well, the hardest part was basically losing my mental endurance and my physical endurance. It took about three years to get over mono, and I think last year during COVID, I finally had some time to be at home and slow down. My life has always gone at 110 miles an hour. It was great to finally have a little bit more time at home and not having to travel. I think it was probably the break I needed a couple of years ago and just never gave myself. It was hard because I kept pushing. It was hard because it was like your feet kept slipping and I didn’t have that extra gear I
was always used to. When things got tough, I could always push it through mentally, but I just never had anything and I just felt really weak. So to be able to build myself back up again and have the support of people around me. I moved back to Arizona a couple of years ago and I absolutely love it there. I have a lot of great support there. I’m married now and I think a lot happier off the course, so I have a good balance there. I’ve done this long enough now where I feel like you can’t really force anything. There were times I doubted if I ever would win again, and I think sitting here now, winning the British Open, I couldn’t really dream of anything more. It was definitely worth the wait, and definitely worth a lot of those struggles and being able to push through. But it’s been a lot of hard work to get here, too.
I know you’re supposed to get married at a castle. Where did you guys end up getting married and I guess this is a different kind of reception than what you had planned, but still fun nonetheless?
We have postponed our, what I would say our real wedding or big wedding, the one with
our friends and family, to next summer. It’s going to be about 20 minutes away from here in a castle. But we did officially get married in the U.S. at our home club, Silver Leaf in Scottsdale in March with just us and six of our friends there. We had about 21 people on Zoom on 21 different accounts. It was a special day, and I can’t wait to
walk down the I’ll again in Scotland next year.