5 burning questions ahead of the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club
Here are five questions we can’t wait to be answered.
1. Can Nelly Korda remain dominant?
Nelly Korda has dominated the headlines — and the fields — all summer on the LPGA Tour, and this week she will once again be one of the biggest stories of the week. After a summer of stellar play, will she be able to carry the momentum to Inverness?
Korda has three wins this summer — including a major and a gold medal — but the team environment is an entirely different beast. Her performance in her Solheim Cup debut in 2019 (3-0-1) suggests she should have no problem staying within herself in Ohio, but it will be an interesting storyline to watch.
2. Can Team Europe hang?
There’s no sugar coating it — Team Europe is a massive underdog on paper. Team USA has four players (Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda) who are ranked higher than Team Europe’s top-ranked player, Anna Nordqvist, and the average world rank of Team USA is 18 spots higher than that of their counterparts.
This is far from the first time Team Europe has been the underdog. The Europeans often find themselves in the underdog role, and it’s a position they operate quite well from. They shocked the world two years ago with their dramatic win at Gleneagles and held the edge in the 2010s 3-2.
The numbers might not look great for Team Europe, but you shouldn’t count them out.
3. Who will step up for the Europeans?
If Team Europe does want to claw out an unlikely victory, they’ll need to have a few players step up. And with a summer of European success in women’s golf, there are plenty of candidates to choose from.
Anna Nordqvist is a likely option as she comes off her AIG Women’s Open just two weeks ago, but some of the younger players could make an impact, too. Matilda Castren has had an excellent summer winning once on either side of the pond, while Nanna Koertstz Madsen has two top-five finishes in majors this season. Either one would be a great candidate for Solheim Cup success.
If the Euros want to pull the upset, someone will have to elevate their game. Who will it be?
4. How will the rookies fare?
Every player on both teams is comfortable playing in front of crowds, but the atmosphere in team events is different. First-tee jitters at the Solheim Cup (and the Ryder Cup) any other nerves in golf. That’s where experience comes into play.
Team USA’s rookies include Jeniffer Kupcho, Yealimi Noh and Mina Harigae, while Team Europe’s rookies are Nanna Madsen, Leona Maguire Sophia Popov and Matilda Castren.
Handling nerves will be key for these seven players if they hope to come up big for their teams this week. Who will navigate them the best?
5. What kinds of pairings will we see?
One of the most compelling elements of team competitions is seeing how the captains will pair their players during four-ball and foursome sessions.
The Korda siblings were a dominant force two years ago, and it’s likely we will see that duo again. But what other creative pairings will we see?
We’ll find out soon enough.