The Solheim Cup is one of the most anticipated events in women’s professional golf, an entertaining and exciting competition between the top American and European golfers.
The Solheim Cup host site alternates between the United States and Europe, with each team playing on its own turn once every four years. The biennial event returns to the U.S. in 2021, set to be played at one of the top courses in the Midwest, the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
Solheim Cup History
PING golf founder Karsten Solheim helped create the match-style tournament that bears his name. The inaugural Solheim Cup was held in 1990 and was to be every other year, opposite of the men’s equivalent, the Ryder Cup. Some schedule changes occurred because of cancelations of the Ryder Cup after the attack on 9/11 and the 2020 pandemic, but the Solheim Cup will return to even-numbered years in 2024.
The United States currently holds a 10-6 lead in overall competitions, but the European team won the last Solheim Cup in 2019, held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthland, Scotland. The U.S. team has only lost once in the eight occasions that the Solheim Cup was held in the United States (2013 at the Colorado Golf Club). The European team has won three of the last five Solheim Cup tournaments after the American team dominated the early years of the event.
Finca Cortesin in the Costa del Sol region of Spain will host the 2023 Solheim Cup, just one week before the Ryder Cup is held in Italy. Golf fans from across the globe have the rare opportunity to watch both events in close time and proximity.
All-Time Solheim Cup Results
||Des Moines G&CC, USA
||Golf Club St. Leon-Rot, Germany
||Colorado Golf Club, USA
||Killeen Castle Golf Resort, Ireland
||Rich Harvest Farms, USA
||Halmstad GK, Sweden
||Crooked Stick GC, USA
||Barseback G&CC, Sweden
||Interlachen CC, USA
||Loch Lomond GC, Scotland
||Muirfield Village, USA
||St. Pierre G&CC, Wales
||The Greenbrier, USA
||Dalmahoy CC, Scotland
||Lake Nona G&CC, USA
The Solheim Cup Format Explained
The Solheim Cup follows the same format as its counterpart, the Ryder Cup. Each team – Team USA and Team Europe – is made up of 12 women who compete in a total over 28 matches over three days. A point is earned for each match win; ties result in each team receiving half a point.
First, let’s explain the type of matches that will be played over the three days:
Also known as Alternate Shot, Foursomes is a 2 vs. 2 format so each foursome includes two golfers from the U.S. team and two golfers from the European team. Each team in the foursome plays one ball during the round, with teammates alternating who hits.
Sometimes referred to as Better Ball, the Fourball format also consists of two players from each team in each group. All players play their own ball, but only the lower score on each hole counts towards the team total.
This is typical 1 vs. 1 match play.
Solheim Cup Schedule
On the first day of competition, the teams compete in four foursome matches and four fourball matches. Eight of the 12 members of each team will compete in each of the two sessions on the first day.
The format of the second day is the same as the first – four foursome matches and four fourball matches.
All 12 golfers on each team compete on the last day in 12 head-to-head matches.
The defending champion must score at least 14 points to retain the Solheim Cup while the other team must score at least 14.5 points for victory. This rule puts Team USA at a slight disadvantage heading into the 2021 Solheim Cup.
Juli Inkster is the name most often linked to the U.S. Solheim Cup. Inkster competed in nine Solheim Cup tournaments (1992, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011) and served as team captain in 2013, 2015 and 2019. As a player, Inkster has a 15-12 record and 18.5 points.
Cristie Kerr, who also played in nine Solheim Cup tournaments, has earned the most points of any American with 21.
Who Will Play for the Team USA in the 2021 Solheim Cup?
The criteria for making the U.S. Solheim Cup team was slightly adjusted for the 2021 competition. The selections are now based on:
- The top seven players on the LPGA Solheim Cup points list
- The next two highest-ranked eligible players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings
- Three captain’s picks
Previously, the top eight players from the Solheim Cup Rankings, two from the Rolex Rankings and two captain’s picks made the team.
The top seven golfers in the Team USA Solheim Cup standings are Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Ally Ewing, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Austin Ernst and Megan Khang.
Pat Hurst is this year’s Team USA Solheim Cup captain. Hurst competed in five Solheim Cup tournaments and served as assistant captain in the last three competitions.
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