Solheim Wrap: The U.S. Doesn’t “Play”

The 13th Solheim Cup has come and gone, leaving history in its wake. For the first time ever, Europe has claimed victory on American soil. That victory came by way of an 18-10 thrashing that left many American players, officials and fans shaking their heads and wondering what is wrong with the Yanks in the Solheim and Ryder Cups.  More on that in a moment.

In many ways, the real winner was Colorado Golf Club and the brilliant Coore & Crenshaw golf course that served as the stage for this international showdown. The course provided a fast and firm surface that rewarded a well thought and executed stroke and befuddled those who lacked imagination and patience.  And. More often than not, the rewards went to the Europeans.

On Sunday morning European captain Liselotte Neumann stood outside the clubhouse, staring into another hot day. I stood with her, wishing her the best and asking what she had told her players in the locker room.

“I told them to enjoy the ride,” she said. “I told them to remember how much fun golf has been in their lives and to be grateful that this moment had come.”

Those are the words of leadership, and her charges had followed the to their historic win.

And those are the sentiments that are missing from American professional golf. The American team attempted to solve the mysteries of Colorado Golf Club as if had an appendix that could be removed if found.  They sought surgical precision and robotic mastery. Yes, there was spirit. Intensity in spades.  But there wasn’t much fun.

What the American Solheim Cup team needed was a good old-fashioned buddy trip. Ditch the yardage books and the green charts. Take three clubs out at sunset and play six holes for beers.

Love the game – if we know anything at all we know that there is no way to master it. Embrace the vagaries. Play as a team. Forget the rigid approach they taught in your development programs.

Free the game, and Solheim and Ryder Cups will follow.

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