I thought that the Ryder Cup was unassailable as a golfing and sporting spectacle – who can forget the ultimate drama at Medina and of course the emotions driven by memories of Seve Ballesteros – but this year’s Solheim Cup has changed all that. It was compulsive viewing and sheer sporting brilliance matched with near unbearable human emotion no doubt exacerbated by the now predictable bubble status which creates pressures all of it’s own. For the European team, it added to the sense that it was them against the world, well the US anyway.
I particularly loved how the debutantes on both sides played out of their skins. Leona Maguire is now a household name and that steely determination matches anything Munster or Leinster Rugby can provide. ‘No-one beats the Irish’, she proclaimed with some justification after 4.5 points from a possible 5.
Whether it be the dramatic backdrop, the stylish and challengingly colourful outfits, the world class performances or the perfect example of teamwork at play, the European leadership shone though as much as the dignity of the USA team, who were themselves only a few putts short of edging the contest themselves. Catriona Matthew will enter the Halls of Fame as a great leader, delegating power and authority and confidence to her team of 12. She let loose the more vocal of her co-leaders while maintaining that stability and calm which sets exceptional people apart from their peers. She also made it clear they were to have fun and their sense of enjoyment was obvious even amid the white hot tension. Do not forget that she herself won six Solheim Cup singles matches – it does help if you have been there and done it. You know the dark places and the need to dig deep and find yourself when the pressure is its most intense. This is where success is at its sweetest.
As the celebrations started – apparently they know how to party, I love that! – we were reminded of the upcoming Ryder Cup wildcard picks and the contest only weeks away. It will genuinely struggle to compete with this and how great to think that thousands of girls around the world will adopt new heroes and take up the game, driving it to even greater heights.
PS Can there be a more impressive golf playing region in the world than Scandinavia?
Olé Olé Olé Olé