A Hair-Raising Cup
Rounding up the heroes and zeros from a vivid Solheim
Carin Koch went 4-0-1 at the Solheim Cup, and Kelli Kuehne went
0-4, but there were plenty of other winners and losers in the
wake of the U.S. comeback.
The MTV family man is no longer television's most offensive
potty mouth, thanks to Suzann Pettersen's nationally broadcast
f-bomb during an NBC interview following her Sunday singles match.
Calc's famous fold at the 1991 Ryder Cup is no longer the
standard for match-play meltdowns, thanks to Michele Redman, who
allowed Pettersen to win the final five holes and steal a halve.
She was a fist-pumping birdie machine in her debut, putting
together a 3-1 record and continuing to prove she's more than
just a pretty face in short shorts.
The Solheim Cup offered a rainbow of fashion don'ts: Cristie
Kerr's ugly red-white-and-blue shoes; Kuehne's oversized
heart-shaped rhinestone belt buckle, which was so ostentatious
that Liberace would have blanched; and Patty Sheehan's
face-painted stars and stripes, which is cute if you're five
years old, not 45.
Another rookie who went 3-1, Klein stoked the U.S. comeback with
her victory over veteran Helen Alfredsson in the third singles
The loose-lipped 2003 European captain created a firestorm with
her prematch jabs at Kerr, Kuehne and Redman, but Nilsmark was
prophetic. Her punching bags went a combined 2-9-1.
Her captain's picks--Pat Hurst and Kelly Robbins--came up with
huge singles wins, and her celebratory cartwheel was the most
impressive athletic achievement of the Cup.
She ran out of gas against Meg Mallon, but over the first two
days the big-bopping Brit pulled off a series of outrageous
shots, a reminder that she is still the women's game's most
overpowering, if uneven, talent.
She was reduced to tears at the last Solheim--and that was
before getting thumped 5 and 4 by Juli Inkster in singles. This
time around she was lucky to squeak out a halve against lesser
light Wendy Ward, choking on a three-footer to lose the 14th
hole, then flushing a jittery chip at 18.
It was shameful that the network ended Saturday's telecast
before the completion of play, depriving viewers of the
excitement of three matches that were decided on the final hole.
All the more galling was that throughout its dismissive
coverage, NBC was constantly flogging its upcoming 15 1/2 hours
of Ryder Cup overkill.
She rode her stars too hard over the first two days--Davies,
Koch and Sorenstam played all four matches--leaving them spent
on Sunday, and her four captain's selections went 0-3-1 in
Not only did she blow a 2-up lead in singles, but she also
unwittingly put a buzz-kill on the Cup-clinching moment,
snatching Rosie Jones's ball mark and storming off the 15th green.
The affable veteran suffered a historic collapse, and did so in
front of the home folks--the Minneapolitan gave out 130 passes
to family and friends.
We've had to wait three years for what figures to be a letdown.
Meanwhile, there is going to be another Solheim Cup next
Nick Faldo is going to be the star of the Ryder Cup as NBC's
guest commentator--if he can wrestle the microphone away from
Johnny Miller. Faldo has a bone-dry English wit as well as an
analytical mind, and as the alltime points leader, no one can
offer more insight about the Cup.
On the charter flight from the Pennsylvania Classic to the
American Express Championship in Kilkenny, Ireland, a blackjack
game broke out featuring, among others, Mark Calcavecchia, Chris
Riley and caddie Mike (Fluff) Cowan. "I didn't play, I was the
pit boss," says Scott McCarron. "I got them their chips, girls
and comp dinners." The big winner? Fluff, of course.
The Mount Juliet Estate, site of the AmEx, has a riotously
entertaining 18-hole putting course hard by the clubhouse, and
it was a popular hangout for caddies, reporters and more than a
few players. Many of the holes were cut on ridges that sloped
severely toward water hazards, making the putting course a stern
test at a par of 53. The best round of the week was believed to
be a 54 by Brad Faxon, who was cajoled into testing his chops by
a British reporter.
Jerry Kelly received a warm welcome during his first visit to
his ancestral homeland. "I'm from a Kelly clan in County Cork,"
he said on Saturday while scribbling autographs with a green pen.
Karrie Webb of Australia attended the Solheim Cup as a
spectator, spending most of the match following her friend Kelly
Robbins inside the ropes with a purloined media armband.
U.S. team members at the Solheim received so many goodies upon
arrival--including a video camera and a diamond-ruby-sapphire
necklace--that Kelli Kuehne said, "It's like Christmas in your
room." She added that when her teammate Emilee Klein spied all
the loot, "her mouth dropped open and she started bawling."
During the first round of the Tampa Bay Classic the heat index
reached 105[degrees], and by day's end six caddies required
intravenous fluids. Terry Travis, Brandel Chamblee's looper, was
helped off the course after he vomited on the 15th hole. "I
heard him right after I hit my chip," says Chamblee, "and I said
to myself, Man, that chip was bad, but not that bad. But I
quickly realized it wasn't a funny situation." Chamblee plucked
from the gallery a gent who identified himself as "Jim Cusack
from an hour south of here." On their first green together
Chamblee was handed his driving iron instead of his putter by
his novice bagman.
During the second round at Tampa Bay, John Daly, playing the
par-5 14th hole, drilled his second shot 50 yards to the right
of the green, leaving a nasty dent on the trunk of a Buick Park
Avenue Ultra that was being displayed atop a raised platform
behind the 15th tee. After making double bogey on 14, Daly,
citing illness, abruptly bid adieu to his playing partners,
Robert Damron and Billy Mayfair, and disappeared into his motor
coach, which happened to be parked nearby.
VOTE AT GOLFONLINE.COM
THIS WEEK: Should Suzy Whaley play in the 2003 Greater Hartford
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LAST WEEK: Will the U.S. or Europe win the Ryder Cup?
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--Based on 2,346 responses to our informal survey