Friday, August 21, 2009

Solheim Cup Projections

Having set up my fantasy Solheim Cup Team USA and Team Europe combos for morning best-ball, afternoon alternate-shot, and Sunday singles formats, here's how the matches might stack up.

Friday Morning Four-Ball

Stanford-McPherson v. Matthew-Moodie
Lincicome-Gulbis v. Davies-Brewerton
Wie-Creamer v. Alfredsson-Nordqvist
Kerr-Lang v. Gustafson-Pettersen

Friday Afternoon Foursomes

Inkster-Creamer v. Matthew-Moodie
Kim-Pressel v. Davies-Brewerton
Stanford-Gulbis v. Hjorth-Nocera
Kerr-Castrale v. Gustafson-Pettersen

My Saturday combos would depend on the results of these matches, so let me 1st flash-forward to Sunday Singles, where my strategy for each team is pretty fixed, no matter what the previous outcomes:

1. Inkster v. Davies
2. Kim v. Alfredsson
3. Wie v. Moodie
4. Lincicome v. Matthew
5. Lang v. Gustafson
6. McPherson v. Pettersen
7. Castrale v. Hjorth
8. Pressel v. Nordqvist
9. Gulbis v. Nocera
10. Stanford v. Brewerton
11. Creamer v. Elosequi
12. Kerr v. Luna

Now, if Team Europe does as well as I think they might on Friday, here's how Saturday morning might look:


Wie-Gulbis v. Nocera-Luna
Kim-McPherson v. Hjorth-Elosegui
Stanford-Lang v. Alfredsson-Nordqvist
Kerr-Creamer v. Gustafson-Pettersen

The afternoon matches would once again depend on the morning results, but let's say it will be pretty tight heading into them. If so, here's how the match-ups could look:


Inkster-Creamer v. Matthew-Moodie
Kim-Pressel v. Davies-Brewerton
Stanford-Gulbis v. Alfredsson-Hjorth
Kerr-Castrale v. Gustafson-Pettersen

But so much can happen in match play that it's almost pointless to try to project how Saturday's match-ups might look. And it's impossible to predict their outcomes. I know I said I thought it would end up Team USA 15, Team Europe 13, but I really have no idea. That's what makes the Solheim Cup so great, and that's why I wouldn't scrap it or modify it.

[Update 1 (3:16 am): And here are the actual Friday morning four-ball match-ups:

Kerr-Creamer v. Gustafson-Pettersen
Stanford-Inkster v. Alfredsson-Elosegui
Lincicome-Lang v. Davies-Brewerton
Wie-Pressel v. Hjorth-Matthew

Hjorth got the nod over Moodie and Elosegui got the nod over Nordqvist from Captain Nicholas, but otherwise I was pretty good for Team Europe. Looks like no rest for Inkster from Captain Daniel, but except for Pressel over Gulbis there were no surprises as to who would be playing for Team USA. But what I did find surprising was who would be paired with whom. They all make great sense, of course, although I still like mine better, particularly my preferences for ordering my line-ups. Be that as it may, there are some fascinating matches here. The opening 1 is an instant classic and a complete toss-up. The 2nd is intriguing, but I'd give the advantage to Team USA unless Alfredsson goes off. The pressure is on the young Americans in the last 2 as they go up against much more seasoned team match-play opponents. Lincicome, Davies, Wie, and Hjorth may be all over the course! Very exciting golf coming up later today!]

[Update 2 (3:32 am): Stephanie Wei is spot-on in noting what a huge shift in public perceptions of Wie this Solheim Cup could produce, but I'm a little anxious for her, to tell you the truth. Hjorth-Matthew is a tough best-ball team and I could easily envision Wie struggling with her driving accuracy and Pressel struggling with her approach shots and/or putting. But all the casual Wie-watchers will likely expect is a cakewalk for the Americans--and be ready to draw completely unwarranted conclusions if they lose. Personally, I think the match is a toss-up. Both new moms from Europe are rusty, notwithstanding some great recent rounds by Hjorth and Matthew's WBO title, so it's not like it's advantage Team Europe or anything. This is what's so great about team match play. But all the Wie fans and Wie haters will want to see is a W or L in the results column, so they can go ahead and say what they would have said anyway. Here's hoping reality intrudes this week and unfixes their minds just a little. That's as optimistic as I'm ready to get at this point.]

[Update 3 (3:43 am): I see from Hound Dog's pairings post that I missed the announcement by almost 12 hours. That's what an all-day retreat and ensuing neck pain will do to ya! I'm as surprised as he is by the Lincicome-Lang pairing, although I wouldn't quite call Lang a bomber (she's long and straight, like Stanford and Kerr, which is why I projected pairing her with them on different days). If the 2 Brittanys can pull off a W later today, we may well get that Team USA blowout everyone is expecting this week.]

[Update 4 (2:34 pm): Here are the afternoon foursomes pairings. I guess with Davies and Brewerton getting skunked by the Brittanys, Captain Nicholas couldn't follow my advice completely, but she came pretty close. I thought Hjorth might get a rest for Alfredsson, but nope. As for the Americans, I'm shcoked to see Lincicome playing twice but not Kerr. And I didn't expect to see 2 rookies going out at all, much less together on Day 1. Other than that, it's pretty much the people I expected, just paired differently and in a different order than I hoped for. But we'll still get that Inkster-Creamer v. Matthew-Moodie match I was hoping for!]


Hound Dog said...

That's why it's good that we both do this stuff. At least one of us is usually on the ball!

When I say "bomber" I'm not necessarily meaning "bomb-and-gouger" (I think that's your inference). I called Lang a bomber because she's been in the top 15 of driving distance every year of her career except one (24th during her awful 2007).

The Constructivist said...

Oh, I agree Brittany's long. But I see a bomber as someone who can crank it out 290-325 (as Jee Young Lee was reported to in a long-drive contest in Korea this month) when they feel like it. I don't think Brittany or Cristie or Angela can do that without the ground being hard or the wind being behind them. But I may be wrong!