Solheim Cup: the experience from generation to generation

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By Abby Liebenthal, AJGA Communications

Twelve girls clad in red, white and blue scream and shout
from the stands overlooking the No. 1 tee at the Solheim Cup. Next to them,
their European counterparts are cheering “E-U-R-O-P-E” with past captains and
comrades from across the pond.

It was Friday morning, Day One of the Solheim Cup. United
States fans walked by and shared their congratulations to these young women,
others asked for photos with “the next generation of golf.” The camaraderie was
electric as the girls cheered on old friends, Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson, some
having played alongside the now-icons at the 2009 PING Junior Solheim Cup.

Team USA cheered a little louder after claiming the PING
Junior Solheim Cup for the third-consecutive time Wednesday, but representing
their respective countries will stay true through the professional event.

1:00 p.m. Thursday

Both teams arrive with one more practice day ahead. The
players file into the media center and enter the brightly lit interview room.
Players from the winning U.S. Team, Casey
Danielson
and Nicole Morales, joined
captain Kathy Whitworth in a Solheim
Cup press conference
to share their experiences from the PING Junior
Solheim Cup.

Some of the highlights:

“You guys played so
amazing and we had to fight for every single point. And we applaud you as a
team because you guys fought to the very end and made us work for it. You never
gave up and that's all that we can ask for as a team, is to play against the
best from Europe.”
– Morales on competing against Team Europe

“I was going to love
them no matter what. But I just wanted them to go out there and play for
themselves, and to win for themselves and for the team. But not to be worried
about anything else peripheral, myself or anybody else … I gave this same pep
talk to the 1990 Solheim Cup team.”
– Whitworth on advice she gave the
girls before heading into Singles matches Wednesday

“It just kind of makes
me want to eventually get to that point. For me it's just been great to see
them and see how well they interact with us … They came up to us the night
before we played and we did a little cheer and we were talking with them in the
hallway.”
– Danielson on interacting with the U.S. Solheim Cup Team

2:30 p.m. Thursday

After a quick lunch, both PING Junior Solheim Cup teams hit
the driving range at the Colorado Golf Club to prepare for the Pro-Junior 3-Hole
Challenge. The players signed autographs for fans behind the ropes, while Team
USA’s Morales, Ashlan Ramsey and Alison Lee practiced alongside Team
Europe’s Georgia Hall, Karolin Lampert and
Emily Pedersen. These six players
joined past Solheim Cup captains and players in an alternate-shot competition
that featured six, two-person teams, each consisting of a professional and
junior.

Teams were eliminated after each hole, with Lee and Ramsey’s
teams tying in the end. Lee was paired with 2009 Solheim Cup player Kristy
McPherson, and Ramsey teamed up with 2011 Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones. To
determine a champion, Lee and Ramsey came down to a chip-off on No. 18, which
Ramsey won by two feet.

For blog1

Teammates Ramsey and Jones congratulate each other after their win in the Pro-Junior 3-Hole Challenge. 

4:00 p.m. Thursday

Before the Opening Ceremonies, the junior Team USA was given
a tour of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team locker room and lounge. Members of the
Solheim Cup team joined their junior counterparts to congratulate the girls on
their recent win.

5:00 p.m. Thursday

The time had finally come for the Solheim Cup Opening
Ceremonies. As the U.S. PING Junior Solheim Cup Team entered the ceremony, the
full crowd erupted with a standing ovation and cheers of “U-S-A, U-S-A!” as the
girls proudly waved their American flags all the way to their seats.

LPGA Chief Communication Officer Kraig Kann gave the opening
statements, and congratulated both teams on an outstanding week. All heads
turned to the big screen as the junior teams saw their highlights on display to
the crowd.

European Solheim Cup captain Liselotte Neumann introduced
her team as the junior counterparts cheered on in awe. U.S. Solheim Cup captain
Meg Mallon captured the undivided attention of the audience with her words of
encouragement, congratulations to the junior U.S. Team, and shared her
excitement for the upcoming week.  

Alison Lee Ashlan Ramsey and Team USA (2)
The U.S. PING Junior Solheim Cup Team cheers on members of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team.

7:00 a.m. Friday

As these young players took their post Friday morning at the
No. 1 tee, they led cheers for members of Team USA and Team Europe, including
13 PING Junior Solheim Cup alumnae. In four years, when the 2017 Solheim Cup
returns to the U.S., bright-eyed juniors might be cheering on members from the
2013 PING Junior Solheim Cup teams, who have moved on to the next level – the
Solheim Cup.