Written under the nom de plume, M.L. Gneier
Chokin' freakin' dogs.
I guess that does sound a little mean. But the fact that Dottie Pepper said it about her own beloved U.S. team after they let a few matches they were leading slip to halves, and then had the backbone to stand by the comment, was just one example of why the Solheim Cup was a hell of a lot more interesting than watching Tiger Woods win $10,000,000. Another thing that made the cup more interesting was the simple lack of hype. The PGA Tour and FedEx spent no less than a year pimping the latest cup and its silly $10,000,000 deferred prize all the while trying to make us believe that someone other than Tiger really had a chance to win.
The hype-free Solheim Cup, instead, almost took us by surprise. The U.S. and Europeans teams toiled away on the fairways of Halmstad in weather that would make the Scots proud. Both teams played well and I have no doubt that the Europeans felt pretty confident going into the singles with a lead, albeit a slim one. In the end, they were simply beaten by a team that was better both on paper and on the course. That's another thing that frequently makes the women's game more compelling than the men’s: The women tend to play more to their rankings, more consistently, than the men.
Why would this be? My guess is that it's because the LPGA players still have to win to make a decent check. Their small purses and skinny endorsement deals pretty much force the better players on the LPGA tour to keep their foot on the gas pedal all season long. The opposite is true on the PGA tour which is why players like Phil and Vijay can have their games nearly vanish for such long stretches. The PGA tour should not be built upon wealth, not glory. But, I digress.
The Solheim Cup is big for both the LPGA tour and the Europeans because they don't have a FedEx Cup, a Presidents Cup and a whole myriad of other cups to dilute the relevancy of their season. It is a rare chance for both teams to play for glory and country that they all obviously treasure. There is no grousing about what happens to the money from the TV deals and all the rest. It was about passion, and that's why the loss was so hard on European captain, Helen Alfredsson. For her, it was an oh so rare chance to win for more than herself. Passion is also the reason that her win over Annika Sorenstam will prove so important to rookie Morgan Pressel. The win will show her, in a way that not even her major win at the Kraft Nabisco could, that she truly is one of the best players of her era.
Passion. That's what it's all about. It's sadly what the FedEx Cup lacks and happily what the Solheim Cup has in abundance.