This week we look forward to the Solheim Cup on the golfing calendar, the biennial match between Europe and the USA which is being held from Saturday to Monday at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. It looks set for a fierce competition played in the best of spirits with a trophy and bragging rights on the line.
This match was first played in 1990 and this week is being held for the 17th time, and is hugely important to showcase women’s golf to the world in these times of inclusivity, diversity and equality.
We will never forget those most recent dramatic scenes on the 18th green in 2019 at Gleneagles in Scotland, when Europe prevailed by the narrowest of margins: 14.5 to 13.5.
Over the 16 tournaments held to date, the US lead Europe by 10 wins to six. It is a must watch for all golfers. This follows on from the recent spectacular Women’s Open held at Carnoustie, Scotland, won by Sweden’s Anna Norquist.
Also, last week’s Curtis Cup which saw Team USA beat Great Britain & Ireland with a dominant showing in the final day singles. Dubai, the UAE and the Middle East should be rightly proud of the close affinity with the women’s game over the last decade and a half, that should not be underestimated.
Checking all the golfing records it is impressive to acknowledge that 10 of the 12 players in Team Europe for this week’s Solheim Cup have all played in tournaments in this region - in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - in addition, of course, to Scottish captain Catriona Matthew and vice-captains Laura Davies and Suzann Pettersen. Only Finland’s Matilda Castren and Swede Madelene Sagstrom from Team Europe have not played in this region.
Team USA player Lexi Thompson and vice-captain Michelle Wie West have also starred in the Middle East.
One player in the news, who has supported every Omega Dubai Ladies Masters and Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic from 2006, is England’s Trish Johnson.
Trish has had a long and impressive career, winning the 1990 Ladies European Tour Order of Merit, boasting eight Solheim Cup appearances with two wins and having 399 Ladies European Tour events under her belt.
Also known for her commentating talents, Trish won last week’s Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick, Indiana, having also won the same tournament in 2017. This recent victory gives her five wins on the Legends Tour.
Trish, who turned 55 at the start of 2021, became a professional in 1987 and is an inspiration for us all to show how, with health, fitness, commitment and talent, the game of golf can provide lifelong enjoyment. Well played Trish.
We cannot wait for this week’s Solheim Cup and following the recent and significant injection of both prize money and interest from Golf Saudi into the Ladies European Tour we look forward to continuing to see the ladies game coming to the region.
The lady pros are always so willing to offer help and support all us golfers, whether through golf clinics or playing in pro-ams with their special take on the game.
The professional game of golf, including the women’s game, has suffered with COVID-19 restrictions and we look forward to welcoming it back bigger and stronger.
Solheim Cup teams
Captain: Catriona Matthew, vice-captains: Laura Davies, Kathryn Imrie and Suzann Pettersen
Celine Boutier (FRA)
Matilda Castren (FIN)
Carlota Ciganda (ESP)
Georgia Hall (ENG)
Charley Hull (ENG)
Nanna Koerstz Madsen (DEN)
Leona Maguire (IRE)
Anna Nordqvist (SWE)
Emily Kristine Pedersen (DEN)
Sophia Popov (GER)
Mel Reid (ENG)
Madelene Sagstrom (SWE)
Captain: Pat Hurst, vice-captains: Michelle Wie West, Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis