Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Post-Solheim Cup Wrap-Up

The Mostly Harmless Award for best Solheim Cup Blogging has to go to Hound Dog. While Mulligan Stu gave us interesting and concise reports on results and occasional controversies (with looks back and ahead to bookend the series), Hound Dog gave those of us without the Golf Channel or the time to not-quite-live-blog every day's matches (surely there are a couple dozen people in the world in my shoes?) a great sense of how those matches played out in real-time, especially on the crucial final day, plus his preview and epilogue were most excellent. Honorable mentions go to Brigitte Nacos for pointing out what every LPGA fan has known for years to those who aren't LPGA fans, The Florida Masochist for raising a thornier question, and Golfgal for bringing her own unique perspective to Solheim Cup blogging.

Among the pros, Stina Sternberg was miles ahead of her competition. When you consider that her competition included The Golf Channel, which was covering the event on TV, that's saying something. Nice job, Stina!

Although I blogged over at Waggle Room on what turned out to be 7 ways of improving the Cup and discussed the idea over at Seoul Sisters back in August, the idea I now favor is actually quite simple: modify the annual Korea-Japan Kyoraku Cup in both format and timing to track the Solheim Cup; then, have the winning teams and losing teams of the two cups face off in the "off-year." Sure, the Europeans were scrappy in 2007, but I couldn't help wondering over the weekend how the USA would measure up against a Team Korea made up of Se Ri Pak, Mi Hyun Kim, Jeong Jang, Seon Hwa Lee, Jee Young Lee, Ji-Yai Shin, Hee-Won Han, Shi Hyun Ahn, Jimin Kang, Eun-Hee Ji, Sun-Ju Ahn, and Mi-Jeong Jeon, or against a Team Japan consisting of Ai Miyazato, Yuri Fudoh, Shiho Oyama, Momoko Ueda, Sakura Yokomine, Akiko Fukushima, Shinobu Moromizato, Akane Iijima, Miki Saiki, Miho Koga, Yui Kawahara, and Mie Nakata. My guess is not that well, particularly against the Koreans, whom I'd expect to beat the Japanese. In that case, I'd favor eventually turning the American team into an Americas team, opening the door for Lorena Ochoa, Angela Park, Julieta Granada, and others who don't happen to be eligible for even my proposed modified event to take part. (Although maybe starting an Americas vs. Pacific Solheim Cup-modelled event and figuring out how to incorporate them into the mix down the road is the way to go.)

My reasoning is that even the relatively short traditions of the Solheim and Kyoraku (formerly Pinx) Cups have lead to great matches and a big sense of anticipation among the players eligible to compete in them, so it would be a fairly big loss to do away with them or modify them in a significant way. In my model, earning your spot on a team in the odd-numbered years would make you eligible to play for two years in a row. Captain's picks would be much easier if we had the even-numbered years to help settle the question of who's a great match play competitor. Sure, at first, the even-numbered-year event might not draw as much attention from the players or the media, but I think it would catch on quickly. After all, playing for world bragging rights and getting the four teams together every other year would make for great drama.

So in my perfect world the Kyoraku Cup would join the Solheim Cup in odd-numbered years, and the (say) HSBC Cup (to join their match- and stroke-play world events) would be created for the even-numbered years. The earliest this could begin is 2010, so let's get cracking on it, people! Gambare!


The Constructivist said...

I liked this idea so much, I made it a Waggle Room diary.

Anonymous said...

Well...I'm speechless (almost).

My first blogging award! I'd like to thank everyone who made this possible - The Constructivist....uh, I guess he's it.

The Cup format needs to include the entire world somehow, but I believe the biggest obstacle to that will be morphing Team USA into Team America. I think the best first step would be to work Asia into the mix by letting them play Europe next year with the winner getting a crack at the Cup holders in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Stina's Solheim Cup blog link should be http://www.golfforwomen.com/magazine/blogs/editors/2007_solheim_cup/index.html

Thank you for the nice mention!

Anonymous said...

Missed an entire summer of LPGA-blogging and here we are discussing three years from now. Well, all i can hope for is that the LPGA keeps FedEx out of it entirely. They, and their big (or not so big) money, seem hellbent for pleather to ruin sports.

Oh, and i was wondering, now that we have spying scandals in MBL, NFL, and F1 when will we begin to see such antics in golf???? And no, i am not being serious.

The Constructivist said...

Hey, Alena, thanks for dropping by and making the correction!

spyder, welcome back! Moira Dunn has a good chance of keeping her card, but it would be nice to see her get nearer to $150K just to be sure.

Hound Dog, I hate to disagree with an award winner, but the Lexus Cup already has an Asian team. I think the Korea-Japan rivalry is even more intense than the USA-Europe one, which is why I propose synchronizing and merging the two existing Cups. Now, if Team USA gets its butt kicked by Team Korea enough times in a row, we might see a move to open it up to Team North America at least....

The Constructivist said...

Discussing this on Waggle Room with Mulligan Stu and courtgolf actually gave me an idea about expanding the Lexus Cup (in fact, courtgolf's model--in the diary above mine--is probably a better one). Problem with your model, Hound Dog, is that the losing Solheim Cup team would not want to miss a guaranteed chance for a rematch. Bringing a Team Asia in in the way you describe would be politically very difficult. The politics of mine are much easier.

Anonymous said...

Hey - you lose at Solheim, you got no right to complain! There shouldn't be any guarantees for a losing team. I think earning your next title shot is reasonable.

Having said that, I think your plan is a good one too. Whatever expands the format to include more of the world is fine by me.