Solheim Cup: Captain Koch on wildcard picks and the USA
At last. The team is picked and the wildcards have been decided – and I feel very good about my 12 players.
We don’t have any rookies which is a one-off, the Americans only have one, but those who have only played in an away match are a bit like debutants as it’s so different playing at home.
I was part of Lotta Neumann’s backroom team two years ago when we had a bit of a generation shift and picked six rookies. We looked at the stats and they say that rookies do better when playing away and those who have played before do better at home.
But that is just stats, on paper, who knows what will happen on the course.
Picking the wildcards perhaps wasn’t as hard as it might have been. The players did so well in qualifying and were so impressive when it mattered.
Mel Reid played her way in at the final European event in the Czech Republic and that is strong. Then Carlota Ciganda, who Mel had replaced, played well in Portland to make the team and Karine Icher had a top 10 in the final event in Canada.
That is real pressure, to prove yourself when it really matters and that bodes well.
It’s not easy to play your best with the Solheim just around the corner and I’m very proud of how all the players made it on the team.
As always they will be very strong and desperate not to lose three on the trot I had to make a couple of phone calls with the bad news which is no fun but I knew that was coming and it was only two calls in the end.
Caroline Hedwall’s form might be seen as a slight concern for some but not for me. She was brilliant with both Caroline Masson and Anna Nordqvist last time and it is great to have both Caroline (Masson) and Sandra Gal in the side in front of their own fans.
We had a get-together in Germany and I told the girls that we weren’t there to see how they’re playing, more for them to see the course and have some fun.
On the back nine we played a foursome match and you can just tell with Caroline, and a couple of others, that she has another switch when playing matchplay.
There wasn’t much on the line but she still managed to turn it on. The difference in strokeplay from doing OK to really well isn’t that much, a few shots. It’s not like she’s been playing horrendously and is very close to playing well.
She has had an injury so I can’t wait to see her in the matchplay arena again where she has excelled, I was a bit the same as a player.
I’ve not looked closely at the Americans, our mission will be to play the course as well as we can. I knew Juli had a tough task in her two picks, Paula not being in automatically was a first but I wasn’t surprised that she went with experience and it would have been very hard to leave her out. She brings a lot to their team in lots of ways.
As always they will be very strong and desperate not to lose three on the trot.
People have asked if I know my opening foursomes pairings but I genuinely don’t yet.
Of course I have some ideas, it’s impossible not to let your mind drift, but we’ve not discussed them. I know who wants to play with who but my calendar only went to picking the wildcards and now we’ll start again.
The great thing about last time and from our chats recently is that pretty much everybody has said that they would play with anybody else and there are very few who don’t want to play with someone.
I want to have as many combinations as I can so we are ready to react to certain situations. If someone isn’t playing well then another player is ready to step in, you always get surprises so you want to have a good idea if someone’s form is a bit off.
I think I will be out there on the course in the middle of the action and I’ll be there for the players if they want me there. We’ll get the bus up to Germany from the Evian on the Sunday and that will be a lot of fun.
When we sit down on that bus I think it will sink in that it’s the start of Solheim week. I can’t wait.