Both the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup utilise unique match play formats that produce the height of excitement and drama…
The Solheim Cup has arrived at Finca Cortesin and Europe will be desperate to lift their third consecutive trophy against America.
Nothing is left to chance, and each session’s format has a significant bearing on which players are sent out in which session. Does their scoring power suit a fourball pairing, or does their accuracy make them perfect for foursomes?
We take a look at the Solheim Cup format and break down what you’ll see on each day of action in Andalucia.
What is the format for the Solheim Cup?
There are 12 players on each side for Team Europe and Team USA and there are 28 points up for grabs across three days.
The format is match play and if you win a match, you win one point and if you halve a match, you earn half a point.
On day one (September 22) and day two (September 23) of the Solheim Cup, there will be two sessions. They will be divided into morning sessions of foursomes matches and afternoon sessions of fourball matches.
In fourballs, each player in each pair hits their own ball. To put it simply, the best score on each hole wins and if there is a half for the best score on a hole, it is tied.
Essentially, the pair in each match that wins the most holes wins the match.
Foursomes is sometimes called alternate shot. One player in each pair tees off and their partner then hits the next shot, and so on.
The pairs alternate tee shots too, so one player tees off on the odd-numbered holes and the other tees off on the even-numbered holes.
On the third and final day of the Solheim Cup (September 24), the European team and the United States will face off across 12 singles matches – 12 matches using the match play format too.
The European Solheim Cup team are defending the trophy in Spain and they will be looking to get to 14.5 points to win the Solheim Cup again.
If the team score is 14-14 at the end of the week, Europe will retain the cup as the defending champion.
How often is the Solheim Cup played?
The Solheim Cup began in 1990 and was played in even-numbered years until 2002. It was played at Barseback Golf and Country Club in Sweden in 2003 and continued in odd-numbered years until 2023.
The next Solheim Cup will be held at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia in 2024, followed by Bernardus Golf in the Netherlands in 2026.
Each tournament features stars from the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour.
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