by Jeff Skinner
All week Captain Liselotte Nuemann had told her players, “Let’s make history.” They were prophetic words as the Euros went out and white-washed the Americans for the first time on home soil. It was the first ever win for the European team away from home and the first time ever they have defended the cup.
It was a week many Americans will soon want to forget but with a devastating loss like this there comes responsibility. Captain Meg Mallon will shoulder much of the blame and that comes with the territory of being a captain. But Mallon was right when she gave “all credit to the Europeans” as they played wonderful golf for the most part. But when someone is playing great there is usually someone that is not. This week it was the Americans and there is plenty of blame to be shared by the entire American team.
In a team event like this you need your big name players to come through. Your studs have to perform like studs. Unfortunately the Americans had more duds than studs.
The face, painted face that is, of the American Solheim Cup is stalwart Paula Creamer who came into this match with a career 11-3-5 record. She went 1-3-0 and got shellacked by a 17 year old kid in singles. Young Charley Hull even asked for Creamer’s autograph after her 5 & 4 win rubbing a little salt in Creamer’s wound.
The best American player got off to a horrible start. Stacy Lewis lost both her team matches on Friday and struggled on the greens on her way to a 1-2-1 record for the week. Lewis got her only win on Saturday morning and her half point on Sunday came after Creamer had lost earlier and the hopes of the American team were done then.
Cristie Kerr was another stud who couldn’t live up to that reputation. A 1-2-1 record included a meaningless half on Sunday and Kerr no longer can intimidate her opponents.
Another previously successful Solheim Cup player was Morgan Pressel who struggled to a dismal 1-3-0 week. After an opening win on Friday she lost both her matches on Saturday and again in singles.
Angela Stanford has now gone two consecutive Solheim Cups without earning a point. Her 0-4-0 week gave the Americans nothing and has to be difficult for the competitive Stanford to deal with.
Captain Mallon will have to bear the responsibility for the loss but it is her charges that hit the shots, or they didn’t hit them is what the real problem was. She played her big guns often and front-loaded on Sunday, which she had to do facing a five point deficit but they never came through for her.
There were bright spots for the American team as Brittany Lang came through in a big way with a 3-10 week and Mallon’s controversial pick of Michelle Wie played to a 2-2-0 record.
The European team had six rookies who carried more than their share for the week with a 12-5-2 record where the four American rookies were a dismal 2-7-4.
Match play is a fickle beast and many times the result is surprising but there shouldn’t be any doubt who the better team was this week.
The Europeans out played the Americans and nowhere was it more obvious than on the speedy greens of Colorado Golf Club. They out putted the Americans and in doing so made that history that Nuemann had talked about all week.