Solheim foes stay humble

Carin Koch, Swedish Solheim Cup captain, speaking to reporters during the second day of the Helsingborg Open in the Ladies European Tour on Sept 4, 2015.
Carin Koch, Swedish Solheim Cup captain, speaking to reporters during the second day of the Helsingborg Open in the Ladies European Tour on Sept 4, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT • The verbal jousting has started to crank up ahead of this week's 14th Solheim Cup in Germany, with both Europe and the United States suggesting they are the underdogs to win the biennial golf team event.

The hosts, captained by Swede Carin Koch, want to make it a hat-trick of victories for the first time. Juli Inkster's US side are hoping to end a six-year wait to triumph in the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup.

The world rankings indicate the Americans have by far the stronger team, with 10 of their 12 players in the top 40. Europe can boast only Suzann Pettersen, Anna Nordqvist and Azahara Munoz.

"If you look at the rankings, the Americans have such a strong team," Koch told reporters at the St Leon-Rot Golf Club in Heidelberg ahead of the opening foursomes today. "They are so much higher ranked than we are."

Scotland's Catriona Matthew, who will be making her eighth appearance in the event, said: "They are going to go in as favourites.

"They pretty much every year go in as the bookmakers' favourites.

"We just try to enjoy it. Obviously, you enjoy it more if you win but we've been lucky in the last couple, we just need to go out there and give it our best."

American Angela Stanford, who is ranked 35th in the world, disagreed with the Europeans.

"I've never met somebody who wasn't holding a trophy that said they were the favourites," she said.

"I wouldn't consider them (Europe) underdogs. I don't think any team that hasn't held the trophy the last two times could be the favourites so it's obviously their opinion but I don't agree."

Inkster, who played in nine Solheim Cups, said: "I want my players to have a good feeling about this week and whether we win or lose, I want them to remember the ride."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2015, with the headline 'Solheim foes stay humble'. Print Edition | Subscribe