The real winner at the Solheim Cup? Women's golf
A lot is always written about women’s golf around the Solheim Cup. Suddenly everyone crawls out from the woodwork to tell us that, actually, the girls are pretty good at this beautiful game of ours.
I know. I’m a female golfer and I’ve been following it closely for years. For example, I knew who Danielle Kang was before a week ago. Yes, really!
Here are my thoughts on another brilliant Solheim Cup…
1. It proved that the LET is worth saving
With events being cancelled and the future of the Ladies European Tour so uncertain, many of us haven’t been feeling so positive about women’s golf lately.
But Georgia Hall’s performance at the Solheim showed the world that the LET are still producing exceptional golfers.
At just 21 she was one was of the rookies on Team Europe, but at no point did she actually play like one. Yes, she eventually lost her match to Paula Creamer but she gave her a good fight. Creamer shouting, “Come on!” in her face didn’t even seem to faze her.
Hopefully the world can now see why the LET needs to be invested in and given the revamp it needs.
In fact it looks like it might have already have made an impact as there’s already rumours that the LPGA and men’s European Tour are in talks about joining forces to help the LET.
2. It showed that people do want to watch ladies’ golf
For once everyone was talking about the ladies’ game, and not just because they have a crazy new dress code…
The standard of golf was so incredibly high and it was thoroughly entertaining to watch, both on TV and for crowds who gathered as Des Moines. A total of 124,426 fans attended over the weekend, which is more than any of the previous Solheim cups.
Twitter was full talk about the Solheim; Lexi Thompson and Anna Nordqvist’s game alone had everyone on the edge of their seats.
Shirley Spork, who is one of the original founders of the LPGA, insisted it was the best event that the Tour had ever had. She said: “In my 67 years, I would say this is the finest tournament ever for women. Nobody can top this.”
Hopefully the success of this Solheim will lead to more ladies’ events being shown on TV .
Danielle Kang drew attention to this on Twitter, and even Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia publicly praised the Solheim.
So even though Team Europe didn’t technically win, the mantra of the weekend was that women’s golf definitely won over all.
All Love ❤️?? pic.twitter.com/yHSmhF1swR
— Danielle Kang (@daniellekang) August 21, 2017
Congrats to the @SolheimCupUSA team on a great win but mostly to both teams for putting on an amazing show! Well done @SolheimCupEuro ????
— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) August 20, 2017
What an amazing day for @Lexi and the @SolheimCupUSA team. That was some inspirational golf. Congrats on winning the Cup.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 20, 2017
3. It gave everyone an excuse to dress up
On a less serious note, it gave everyone free reign to go totally OTT with their outfits.
The fans also fully embraced this excuse to look absolutely ridiculous and be as patriotic as possible. The crowd was packed with an impressive array of USA/Europe themed onesies, wigs, silly hats, face paint and flags.
With everyone enjoying themselves and making lots of noise, the crowds will have looked far more enticing to any non-golfers than a serious, silent crowd, who have turned up dressed in their best golf gear.
The players also got involved.
It’s nothing new for Michelle Wie to be seen wearing an elaborate outfit, but her Nike diamanté trainers really were a thing of beauty. They were certainly the opposite of the traditional, old-fashioned image of golf.
Even Annika Sorenstam donned a pair of viking horns. As team captain she proved that you shouldn’t be afraid to relax and have some fun, which when you’re trying to keep your team relaxed and in high spirits, is just the attitude you need.
4. It encouraged everyone to be as loud as they liked
Americans might have a reputation for being loud, but at a big team event like the Solheim that’s only a good thing.
A quiet live sport really takes some of the fun out of it in my opinion. Everyone loves a good chant or sing along once in a while, and how are you meant to express your excitement/frustration if you can’t shout?
Most of the players also seemed to love the noise, Kang was always egging the crowd on and even Hall started encouraging them once she’d built up her confidence.
The signs that read ‘get loud’ were a particularly brilliant sign of defiance against the usual stuffy golfing rules.
Not ONE "quiet please" sign in Des Moines!!!!! Only "get loud" signs! Only #SolheimCup2017 @LPGA @LETgolf pic.twitter.com/T9MSuKQ70b
— Michael Whan (@LPGACommish) August 19, 2017
5. It was fun and full of big personalities
Playing as a team let the players support and bond with each other in a way that is rarely seen in other competitions.
You could tell from the way they chatted and laughed with each other that they had become incredibly close. It also helped show off their personalities and who were best friends (Wie and Kang clearly win the award for cutest friendship).
This made them seem more appealing and watchable and you couldn’t help willing them on.
Whether it’s Wie giving Kang a piggy back or Charley Hull and Mel Reid’s high five that went hilariously wrong, watching players who are having a good time together is far more enjoyable than watching those who are taking it too seriously (although obviously someone throwing their club in a strop is always brilliant too).