Thoughts on the 11th Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.:
1. Although stronger on paper, the U.S. team limps in. No American has won an LPGA event since Cristie Kerr at the Michelob Ultra in early May. Only three Americans have won this year—Kerr, Pat Hurst and Angela Stanford—and Hurst was left off the team.
2. Veterans Laura Davies (below) and Catriona Matthew each did European captain Alison Nicholas a favor: Davies by adding an event to get more points, and Matthew by winning the Women's British 11 weeks after giving birth, sparing Nicholas from using picks on them.
3. Michelle Wie is playing as well if not better than anyone on the U.S. team. Based on only this season, Wie would have been sixth in points.
August 23, 2009
4. Davies seems rejuvenated after getting a special exemption to the U.S. Women's Open.
5. Nicholas did something no European captain has done before—she brought players to a U.S. host site to practice before team selection. That alone should be worth a couple of points.
6. Paula Creamer seems to have had some trouble closing events lately, but the Solheim Cup brings out her best (5-1-4 overall and 2--0 in singles).
7. U.S. captain Beth Daniel switched the order of the match. Four-ball in the morning should lead to a lot of fireworks for the U.S. team, a birdie machine. That will get the crowd (Paul Azinger's 13th man) riled up early.
8. Name the only player on either side to win more than one event in 2009. Drum roll... Diana Luna.
9. Prediction: U.S.A. by two.
Dottie Pepper is a 17-year LPGA veteran and an on-course analyst for NBC and Golf Channel.