The Solheim Cup is Better Than the Ryder Cup — Team Europe’s winning press conference — Must-click women’s golf links

The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, September 9, 2021

If there’s one thing I’m taking away from this year’s Solheim Cup, it’s that this competition is way better than the Ryder Cup. That may sound like a ludicrous statement to the casual golf fan, but if you watched any of the event at Inverness, you know I’m absolutely right.

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For starters, it’s fun to watch two teams that actually care about the outcome. It’s no secret that the whole of Team USA struggles to get motivated for the Ryder Cup like the Europeans do and very rarely do we see players living and dying with each shot struck. To be fair, most of their careers are already solidified with wins and made cuts on the PGA Tour so a biennial team competition isn’t something to fret over, but compared to the old days, it just doesn’t seem like the Ryder Cup matters as much.

For women’s professional golf, a solid Solheim Cup performance has the potential to define a career and change the trajectory of a player’s future. All involved are well aware of what a privilege it is to make a team and are very obviously grinding over every shot, every match, and every point, doing everything in their power to secure the victory for their respective side. These players know that a moment like last week in Toledo is something to be cherished and the golf is that much more exciting to watch knowing how high the competitors consider the stakes to be.

Secondly, the fans are absolutely incredible. No offense to the Ryder Cup, but the 130,000 fans — a new record for the Solheim Cup — that came out to Inverness last week were impressive not only for their fervor and enthusiastic support of the United States but also for the way that they rooted for Europe just as much. There wasn’t any disrespect shown for either team and all involved seemed to enjoy the experience of simply being there to witness one of the biggest events in the women’s game. It was the best of golf fandom that was on display in Toledo and it’s refreshing when fans can be noisy and passionate without being rude and inconsiderate.

Finally, everyone involved seems to have so much fun. Shirley Spork and Juli Inkster dancing on the first tee. Ally Ewing belting “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. Carlota Ciganda doing the Macarena. Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson asking for the crowd to keep cheering as they hit their opening tee shots. The atmosphere is one built on positivity and camaraderie with both teams just wanting to have a blast playing golf together. Sure the Ryder Cup is fun in its own way, but you won’t see players smiling every five seconds or cutting up with their partners, or signing autographs in between tee boxes. The Solheim, while still being incredibly serious business, is considerably more light-hearted with approachable competitors that understand that growing the game is the most important thing they can do as professional golfers. Both teams want to win, of course, however, it seems like there’s a bigger emphasis put on living in and enjoying the moment than anything else.

There will be plenty of naysayers that disagree with my thoughts about the Solheim Cup compared to the Ryder Cup, but I think last week in Toledo proves my point. The best of women’s golf was on display and the fans showed up in droves to support it, showing that at least 130,000 people have bought in. 

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, no one can argue the point that fans are starting to care just as much about women’s golf as they do men’s golf and that golf is trending in a positive direction, that because of events like the Solheim Cup the future of the women’s game continues to look brighter and brighter, hopefully signifying that the tides are beginning to turn in a direction they never have before.

This week in women’s golf

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Five at The IX: Team Europe’s winning press conference

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Written by Sarah Kellam