When and where is it on?
The 2023 Solheim Cup, a biennial tournament between teams made up of the best women golfers from the United States and Europe (which includes Ireland’s Leona Maguire), will take place from September 22nd to 24th at the Finca Cortesin course in Casares, Spain.
How can I watch it all?
The tournament is live on Sky Sports throughout the week, on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf. The opening ceremony begins at 5pm on Thursday, where they will reveal the opening foursome pairings. On Friday, coverage is from 7am until 7pm, on Saturday from 6.30am until 7pm and on Sunday from 9am until 6pm.
What is the format?
There are 12 players on each team playing team golf for the first two days (fourballs and foursomes) and then singles on the final day, where winning a match is worth one point and a halved match is worth half a point. Fourball is two players on each team playing their own ball and the best score wins the hole. Foursomes is an alternate shot format, where players take in turns to play the same ball and the best score wins the hole.
There are two sessions on Friday and Saturday, where eight players from each team participate. On Sunday, there are 12 singles matches where every player competes one-on-one against a player of the opposing team.
With a total of 28 points available, 14½ points are required to win the Solheim Cup, and 14 points are required for the defending champion, in this case Europe, to retain it.
Tell me about the venue
It is the first time that Spain has hosted the Solheim Cup and Finca Cortesin is considered one of the country’s finest courses. A short distance inland from the Mediterranean Sea, it hosted the World Matchplay three times on the European Tour from 2009 to 2012. Watch out for what promises to be a spectacular opening hole. Usually the fourth hole for members, it measures 280 yards from the tee the women will play, slopes slightly downhill and offers a risk-reward decision to go for the green.
Is Leona Maguire playing?
She is indeed. Maguire is one of the top Europeans on the team and after her brilliant performance last time where she was top scorer for Europe with four-and-a-half points as they won the Solheim Cup away from home in 2021. The Cavan woman was on fire with the putter that week, golf correspondent Philip Reid wrote how she “stole the show” as she proved to be an on-course leader in the format.
Maguire is ranked 18th in the world golf rankings, and won for a second time on the LPGA Tour when she securing the Meijer LPGA Classic in June. She will be without her previous partner Mel Reid, who was with her for three of her four previous team matches, as she did not make the team. Georgia Hall played with her in a match last time out at the Inverness Club so she could play with her.
“There’s lots of options of who can play with who. It’s obviously a new team and you’ll see some familiar pairings and some new pairings. [Suzann Pettersen has] done a lot of these, she’s [played] nine herself, so she knows what she’s doing,” said Maguire, adding: “We’ll play with just about anybody, so we’re going to do whatever Suzann needs us to do this week.”
What are the teams?
The European team is as follows:
Céline Boutier, Maja Stark, Linn Grant, Charley Hull, Carlota Ciganda, Georgia Hall, Anna Nordqvist, Leona Maguire, Caroline Hedwall, Madelene Sagstrom, Gemma Dryburgh, Emily Kristine Pedersen.
The team is captained by Suzann Pettersen.
The United States team is as follows:
Lilia Vu, Nelly Korda, Allisen Corpez, Megan Khang, Jennifer Kupcho, Danielle Kang, Andrea Lee, Lexi Thompson, Rose Zhang, Ally Ewing, Cheyenne Knight, Angel Yin
The team is captained by Stacy Lewis.
Who should you watch out for?
Aside from the Irish interest with Maguire, the world number two Lilia Vu will lead the US team as their strongest player having won two Majors this year – the Chevron Championship and the Women’s Open. The youngest player on the US team could also be one of the more formidable, 20-year-old Rose Zhang won the Augusta Women’s Amateur and NCAA titles as an amateur before bursting on to the elite scene by winning on her first professional start on the LPGA Tour in June.
The European team is strong at the top with five players in the top 18 of the world rankings including France’s Céline Boutier who won a Major at the Evian Championship in July. England’s Charley Hull finished second in two Majors this year, while wildcards Madelene Sagstrom and Emily Kristine Pedersen should add power to the Europe team as some of the longest hitters in women’s golf.
What is the history of the event?
Europe are looking for their third consecutive victory in the Solheim Cup after two exciting and narrow victories in 2019 and 2021. Beginning in 1990, the United States have won 10 matches to Europe’s seven. Unlike the Ryder Cup, which has seen the home team win seven of the last eight cups, the Solheim Cup has been won four of the last eight times by the away team, while the winning score has been less than two points in three of the last four.
What are the tee-times and pairings?
Maguire will play her first match with Swede Anna Norqvist against US pair Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz.
Solheim Cup Friday morning foursomes pairings:
7.10am (Irish time): Linn Grant/Maja Stark v Lexi Thompson/Megan Khang
7.22am (Irish time): Celine Boutier/Georgia Hall v Danielle Kang/Andrea Lee
7.34am (Irish time): Leona Maguire/Anna Nordqvist v Nelly Korda/Allisen Corpuz
7.46am (Irish time): Charley Hull/Emily Pedersen v Cheyenne Knight/Ally Ewing
12.40pm: Rose Zhang/Megan Khang v Gemma Dryburgh/Madelene Sagstrom
12.55pm: Lexi Thompson/Lilia Vu v Leona Maguire/Georgia Hall
1.10pm: Jennifer Kupcho/Allisen Corpuz v Emily Pedersen/Maja Stark
1.25pm: Angel Yin/Ally Ewing v Carlota Ciganda/Linn Grant
What is the weather forecast?
As you would expect for the south of Spain at this time of year, conditions are ideal – sunny and little chance of rain, with temperatures between 25 and 27 degrees.