Carin Koch on the importance of rookiesJanuary 8, 2015 Golf Tips
"The depth of talent in rookies is much better than it was 20 years ago"
One certainty of the Solheim Cup is that there will be rookies on both teams, in Colorado half of our team were made up of debutants.
When Lotta (Neumann) picked the side we looked at the stats and the rookies had scored very well in previous matches. So we kind of turned it around a little bit, it definitely doesn’t have to be a negative. You are so excited and you can put less expectation on yourself and go out and enjoy it. It is certainly different playing at home with lots of support, in America you will have to be prepared for a lot of cheering but not much of it will be for you!
A lot of factors will go into our pairings in Germany and it definitely won’t be a case of matching rookies with non-rookies wherever possible. Two years ago there were a few raised eyebrows when we sent out the rookie duo of Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Charley Hull in the first match on the Saturday afternoon. It was seen as a risk but we had so many first-timers playing that we had to put some of them together. Also, sometimes your focus is a bit better as you know the pressure is on and you cannot just rely on your partner.
The depth of talent is so much better these days and that wasn’t the case 20 years ago so, as a captain, you have far more choices. A lot of factors will go into our pairings in Germany and it definitely won’t be a case of matching rookies with non-rookies wherever possible. Rookies these days might have won a lot and, in the last three matches, we have even had players (Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall and Charley) make the team in their first season as a professional. So we will look at things like form, previous stats, who wants to play with who, their types of game and personalities.
Or it might be a case of matching nationalities as some of the girls will have played together on national teams. Following Charley and Jodi out in 2013 were the Spanish pair of Carlota Ciganda, another rookie, and Azahara Munoz. They were really confident together and we ended up producing a clean sweep of four wins that afternoon in the States.
The week is so different. Before the matches it is very demanding with lots of media, practice and dinners so you have to focus on the right things and find the right mix of doing your own thing but also be part of the team. The European team spirit is always great and a few rookies will only add to that.