The Solheim Cup is a biennial women’s golf tournament that pits a team of American golfers against a team of European golfers. It is named after the PING brand’s founder Karsten Solheim, who originally came up with the idea for the event.
When looking at the event schedule for the Solheim Cup, the main question that arises is – is it played over 2 days or 3 days? The Solheim Cup is a 3-day golf event. It traditionally takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Background on the Solheim Cup
The Solheim Cup was first held in 1990 at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Florida. The United States team defeated the European team 11.5 to 4.5 points. After the inaugural event, it has been held every 2 years since then alternating between venues in the United States and Europe.
The tournament was initially intended to be modeled after the Ryder Cup, which is a biennial men’s golf event between teams from Europe and the United States. Karsten Solheim aimed to create a similar competition for women golfers.
The eligibility criteria for players is as follows:
- For Team USA, players must be born in the United States or have lived in the country for a minimum of 10 consecutive years.
- For Team Europe, players must be members of the Ladies European Tour.
The teams comprise of 12 players each. Over the years, the stature of the Solheim Cup has grown tremendously and it is considered one of the premier events in women’s golf.
Solheim Cup Tournament Format
The Solheim Cup features three days of matchplay competition between the two teams. The format is as follows:
- Day 1 (Friday) – 4 foursome (alternate shot) matches in a morning session and 4 more foursome matches in an afternoon session.
- Day 2 (Saturday) – 4 fourball (better ball) matches in a morning session and 4 more fourball matches in an afternoon session.
- Day 3 (Sunday) – 12 singles matches.
In each match, a point is awarded for a win and half a point for a tie. The first team to reach 14.5 points wins the Solheim Cup. If the teams are tied at 14-14, the defending champion retains the cup.
Solheim Cup Schedule
As mentioned earlier, the Solheim Cup takes place over 3 days, traditionally Friday to Sunday. The standard schedule is:
As seen above, there are 4 matches in the morning and afternoon on Friday and Saturday in foursomes and fourball format respectively. Sunday features all 12 singles matches.
The first tee time on Friday morning is generally around 8 AM local time. Saturday’s opening tee time is around 7:30 AM. On Sunday, the matches begin at roughly 12 noon when all 24 players hit the course together for the singles matches.
Solheim Cup 2023 Schedule
The next edition of the Solheim Cup will be held in 2023 at Finca Cortesin in Andalucía, Spain. The competition will take place from September 22-24, 2023. Here is the schedule:
|September 22, 2023
|September 23, 2023
|September 24, 2023
The European team will be looking to reclaim the Solheim Cup on home soil after losing to the United States at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio in 2021.
Why is the Solheim Cup 3 Days?
As we’ve covered, the Solheim Cup features 3 days of competition – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But why was the 3-day format decided upon?
There are a few key reasons:
- It allows for an equal number of each match format – 8 foursome matches, 8 fourball matches and 12 singles matches. A 2-day event would require either shrinking the field or reducing the number of matches.
- With 24 competitors (12 per team), 3 days enables all players to participate while avoiding too many matches in a single day or players having to compete in multiple formats on the same day.
- The 3-day set-up mirrors the Ryder Cup, which the Solheim Cup was modeled after. Maintaining this parallel structure puts the Solheim Cup on an equivalent stage as the Ryder Cup.
- Three days provides a compact yet thorough tournament. Two days may compromise competitiveness, while more than 3 days risks losing audience interest.
In summary, the Solheim Cup’s 3-day schedule strikes the right balance between fairness, participation, prestige and viewer engagement when showcasing the best women’s golfers from the United States and Europe.
Solheim Cup Viewership and Popularity
The Solheim Cup has grown considerably in popularity and viewership since its debut in 1990. Here are some key stats:
- In 2021, the Solheim Cup at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio drew record crowds of over 120,000 attendees throughout the 3-day event.
- The 2021 edition also set new highs for Solheim Cup television coverage, with 749,000 viewers on Golf Channel and NBC broadcasts in the United States.
- Solheim Cup viewership has increased 120% in the last decade, boosted by live coverage and growth of women’s golf.
- The passion displayed by fans, especially when held in the United States, has led to the Solheim Cup being dubbed the “Ryder Cup of women’s golf.”
- Top stars like Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson and Leona Maguire add further star power and draw for the Solheim Cup.
The Solheim Cup looks poised for even greater growth in 2023 and beyond. The addition of captain’s picks for both teams will further elevate the competition. And the prominence of women’s sports should drive more interest and attendees.
In summary, the Solheim Cup is a 3-day biennial women’s golf event between the United States and Europe. Played over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it comprises 3 different matchplay formats – foursomes, fourballs and singles. The 3-day structure enables full participation, competitive balance, and adequate match volume like its namesake Ryder Cup. With growing audiences and stars, the Solheim Cup continues to highlight world-class women’s golf across 3 action-packed days.