LPGA Solheim Cup 2019: Team USA vs team Europe - Predictions and Odds
What is the Solheim Cup?
The Solheim Cup is a golf tournament for women professional golfers that resembles the men’s Ryder Cup.
The tournament is held every two years and features two teams of 12 golfers each from the United States and Europe.
The 2019 Solheim Cup will be held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland on September 13th, 14th, and 15th.
How is the Solheim Cup Played?
The Solheim Cup is held over three days, beginning on a Friday and ending on a Sunday.
Over the first two days of the event, there is a morning and afternoon session. During those sessions, four groups of two golfers from each team faces off in either one of two styles of play.
The first type of game is known as foursomes or alternative shot. In this format, each member of a team alternates their shot on a hole.
In the foursome, two Americans will play two European golfers and each team will only play with one golf ball. The scoring for this format is match-play style with one point awarded for winning the hole.
The team with the most points at the end of the event is awarded one overall point for the team total, unless there is a tie, then it is half-point to each team.
The other type of format that the golfers will participate in duos at the Solheim Cup is four-ball.
Also scored in match play style, four-ball is where all four players play their ball to conclusion and the player on each team with the lowest score is pitted against one another and the lowest score wins the point for the hole.
In the four-ball sessions, like the foursomes, the winning duo wins one point for their team. If the match ends in a draw, then again, each team is awarded a half-point.
On Sunday, each team’s captain takes their 12 golfers and pairs them into single matches. Match play scoring is once again involved and each winning golfer is awarded one point toward their team’s total and ties are awarded a half-point.
Over the three days, as matches conclude, point totals from each team begin to accumulate. The first team to 14.5 points wins the Solheim Cup.
If the two teams end in a 14-14 draw, then the previous winner is allowed to retain the cup.
What is the History of the Solheim Cup?
The event began in 1990 and in the 15 total tournaments held for the cup, the United States has won 10 and lost five.
In 2015 and 2017, the Americans took home the Solheim Cup after Europe had won in 2011 and 2013.
In 2017, the US squad won 16.5-11.5 over the Europeans.
Who is Favored to Win the Solheim Cup?
For the third straight season, Juli Inkster is the American team captain. Inkster is perfect as the head of the US team winning the previous two Cups.
For her captain’s picks, Inkster went with some veteran stability, choosing long time LPGA pros Morgan Pressel and Stacy Lewis.
Also on Inkster’s team will be five Solheim Cup rookies, leading the captain to lean for a more veteran presence from her captain’s picks.
The U.S. squad will be led by Lexi Thompson, Nelly and Jessica Korda and Danielle Kang.
For Team Europe, the team will feature three rookies and nine golfers with previous Solheim Cup experience.
The group will be led by Catriona Matthew in her first Solheim Cup captaining appearance.
The Europeans will be led by three-time Solheim participant Carlota Ciganda from Spain and England’s Charley Hull, who will be playing in her fourth straight Solheim event.
If you are wondering how often a draw occurs in the Solheim Cup, the answer is never before have the two teams ended the event in a draw.
In the history of the Ryder Cup, since the event went to USA vs. Europe in 1979, there has been only one tie in 1989. So, the conclusion is unless you are a thrill seeker, it may be best to keep away from the draw wager.
Who is the Favorite to Win the Most Points for the USA team?
Lexi Thompson is 4th on the LPGA money list for 2019 with one victory on the year at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
She has won seven points in the previous three Cups making her the clear favorite to lead team USA.
Thompson will be missing her partner in previous Solheim Cups, Cristie Kerr, who did not make the 2019 team. The duo went 4-0-2 in the history of the event.
Nelly started the season out on fire, winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and has nine top-ten finishes on the season.
The 2019 Solheim Cup will be her first experience with the tournament as she just joined the LPGA Tour in 2017.
Jessica is back for her first Solheim Cup since 2013 when she finished with 1.5 points in four matches.
Korda is 29th on the money list for 2019 despite playing in just 13 events.
Kang has won close to $750,000 on the LPGA Tour this season. And although she has four top-fives on the year, she has not won a tournament in 2019.
Who is the Favorite to Win the Most Points for the European team?
Ciganda was the first golfer to claim a spot on the European team as she sits 12th on the LPGA money list for this season.
A veteran of the Cup, Ciganda has won five of her 11 career Solheim matches. Paired with her two draws and she’s scored six points in her three career Solheim appearances.
Ciganda has yet to lose a singles match in the Solheim Cup with two victories and one draw.
If there is a value play for Team Europe, then Hull has to be that golfer. She has been an absolute beast in Solheim Cup play, winning seven of 11 matches for 7.5 total points.
Making her first appearance in the event as a 17-year old rookie in 2013, Hull has made the Americans’ lives very difficult with stellar play in each of her last three Solheim appearances.
Making her sixth European Solheim Cup team, Nordqvist has won 12 points in five Cups.
Although she may not have the swagger of her younger teammates, Nordqvist has been a very solid player in these match play-style tournaments over the years, so don’t dismiss her completely.
Another veteran of the Solheim Cup, Munoz has been less successful than the other golfers on this list, winning just 4.5 points in three previous Cups.
After missing the 2017 Cup, Munoz has played better in recent months, but expect her to only play in one foursome in 2019, keeping her total point total limited.
Who Will Win the 2019 Solheim Cup?
The USA team certainly seems more adept at taking their third straight Solheim Cup due to their firepower at the top of the squad.
But they will have their work cut out for them with a crafty and veteran European team that will have home-course advantage for the 2019 edition of the Solheim Cup.
Look for the Americans to win their third straight Solheim Cup but it looks to be a very close affair in Scotland.