After Solheim Cup win, time for Wie, Americans to bring on the South Koreans
Before looking forward after a fantastic Solheim Cup, one that had me glued to the TV from practically start to finish and was more involved than any other women’s golf event I can remember (except for those I’ve covered on the ground), lets give credit where credit is due: Undefeated Michelle Wie was the tournament MVP, and this appears to be a galvanizing moment for her moving forward.
When she lost her 3-up lead to Helen Alfredsson on the back nine today and her putter was wavering, I thought we were looking at the same ol’ Wie. But she finished strong on the 18th with a birdie and now has her most significant win since she came onto the national scene.
Had the Solheim Cup been founded this year, the two best teams wouldn’t have been Europe and the USA, it would be USA versus South Korea. The Solheim Cup is here to stay, but it’s time for an off-year match between the U.S.A. and South Korea, which could be even bigger. I’m assuming there are some suits already drumming this up with potential sponsors, because frankly the idea seems so obvious by now, especially after large crowds this weekend and what seemed like a good amount of interest in Solheim Cup coverage.
I’m not sure the Americans and Europeans have much of a rivalry versus each other compared to the professional men and the Ryder Cup. With Annika Sorenstam out of the game and Laura Davies in the twilight of her career, there aren’t that many serious threats from across the pond to take on Christie Kerr, Paula Creamer and now Wie, too.
South Korea is producing young talent at a much higher rate than Europe. Another issue is that many of the European players don’t play much in America, where the competition is better.
South Korea on the other hand is dominating the American tour, and they’ve taken sort of a on a collective villain role for a lot of golf fans here. Rather than wish they’d go away or learn better English, it’s time to showcase their best against ours, like the Soviets versus Canada in hockey back in the 1970s with the Super Series.
The South Koreans aren’t going anywhere, and a match play event would help market and individualize the players far more in America than they are presently. Match play formats are great for learning a lot about a dozen players, rather than try and track 144 over four days.
The obvious thing to do would be a Presidents Cup style Americans vs. The World minus Europe. But just because that’s the men’s format, the LPGA shouldn’t think they need to copycat. Instead, simply USA vs. South Korea (sorry, Lorena Ochoa) would be the best and most spirited golf product the women’s game could put together, and would generate as good of a rivalry as there is in sports.
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Anyway, yes Michelle Wie at least doubled her following this week. She did great and had some clutch shots and putts. These crowds were not what these girls are use to either. They all handled everything well and did what they came to do.