The 2013 Solheim Cup is set to commence on Friday, Aug. 16 in Parker, Colorado. The biennial three-day match play event will feature the top stars from Europe and Team USA, as both sides compete for global golf supremacy.
The question is, which Team USA stars are under the most pressure to shine?
Since the Solheim Cup was introduced in 1990, the U.S. owns an 8-4 edge over the Europeans. With that being said, the Americans were on the losing end of things in 2011, when Europe won in County Meath, Ireland.
The two sides were tied entering the final day of play, but some of the best Americans failed to execute and Europe walked away with a 15-13 victory.
Two years later, there are a cast of familiar faces who have redemption on their minds. With Europe looking as strong as they ever have, however, revenge will be difficult to come by.
Here's who Team USA needs to shine if they're to stand a chance of winning this illustrious event.
|Jodi Ewart Shadoff||England|
Captain: Liselotte Neumann, Sweden
Captain: Meg Mallon
LPGA Rank: No. 9
Solheim Cup Appearance: 5th (11-3-5)
Paula Creamer is one of the most experienced Solheim Cup competitors on Team USA's roster. She's competed in four consecutive events, compiling a total record of 11-3-5.
So why is one of Team USA's most decorated international competitors under pressure? Recent history.
During the 2011 Solheim Cup, Creamer shockingly lost her singles match and Team USA ended up losing the competition 15-13. Creamer may not be in danger of damaging her reputation, but she'll need to redeem herself for the U.S. to win this year.
As a leader, that burden grows substantially.
Creamer is one of the best players in the world, but she hasn't won an LPGA Tour title since the 2010 U.S. Open. She's managed to secure top 10 finishes in each of her past three major championships, however, which suggests she's rediscovered her groove.
Team USA will need every ounce of her greatness to defeat Europe in Parker, Colorado.
LPGA Rank: No. 14
Solheim Cup Appearance: 7th (11-11-3)
Cristie Kerr is one of the best players of her generation, winning two LPGA major championships and earning second-place finishes at the two she's failed to earn. She's also competed in six Solheim Cups, which suggests experience is on her side.
Or is it?
Kerr has a career record of 11-11-3 in Solheim Cup play, going 1-4-1 in singles match play. There's no question that Kerr can contribute in Fourballs, 7-4-0, and Foursomes, 3-3-2, but singles play is when the tournament is often decided.
The last time Kerr won a match in singles play was 2003.
She lost in 2005, 2007 and 2011, going to a halve against Maria Hjorth in 2009.
In 2011, she lost to Karen Stupples in the final match of the event, thus giving Europe the deciding 15-13 advantage.
Much like Creamer, it's on Kerr to redeem herself.
LPGA Rank: No. 55
Solheim Cup Appearance: 3rd (4-3-1)
Michelle Wie was a captain's pick for Team USA, which caught some by surprise. Wie, 23, was once a teen phenom who was expected to become the best female golfer in the world.
Instead, she's No. 55 in the LPGA money rankings.
With that being said, Wie has made two appearances at the Solheim Cup, going 3-0-1 in 2009. Unfortunately, Wie also went 1-3-0 in 2011, losing a critical match to Suzann Peterson during singles competition.
In 2013, Wie will need to redeem herself by helping Team USA win the Solheim Cup.
This isn't out of the question, as Wie's performance in 2009 played a major role in the Americans' success. If she's able to at least split her victories with losses or halves, the Americans will be in a promising position in 2013, as well.
She may not be the superstar we expected her to become, but Wie can make a powerful impact with her Solheim Cup experience.