Laura Davies a Solheim stalwart
The Solheim Cup will be played for the 13th time this week, beginning Friday at the Colorado Golf Club, just outside of Denver. There have been highs and lows, triumph and heartache for both teams through the years, moments the players will never forget. This week, espnW will highlight that history as six Solheim standouts share their favorite memories.
Laura Davies, England
12 appearances, 22-18-6 record
Laura Davies has 84 professional victories, 20 of them on the LPGA Tour, including four majors. Yet if she's best known as a Solheim Cup player, that's perfectly OK with her.
It links her a bit with her idol, the late Seve Ballesteros. Until this upcoming Solheim Cup, Davies had played in all 12 competitions as the "rock" of the European team.
"It's something that's given me immense pleasure over the years," Davies said. "I always think Seve is associated with the Ryder Cup, and he was my absolute favorite. I'd always loved him; I met him a few times. It's just nice when you're associated with something like that."
Davies tends not to single out a specific favorite Solheim moment, instead linking together the collective joy of all four European wins -- and the celebratory parties afterward.
"The losses are heartbreaking and the wins are fantastic," she said. "The Solheim Cup can send you into being a bit of a tribal animal, and you want to be there for your team.
"The win [in 2011], with the way our players finished, I think that was our finest moment because we really did turn it around in singles."
The 2011 Solheim Cup was held in Ireland, and the sides were tied 8-8 after four-ball and foursomes play. Going into Sunday singles, the Americans were favored.
"Normally, it's the Americans who turn it on in singles," Davies said. "We've always struggled in the singles, because we love the team part of it. Then on the last day, you're back out on your own again, and that's a bit of a letdown.
"But it's the most important day of the week. We let ourselves down a few times over the years [in singles]. We've had the lead, been playing well, and let it slip. That didn't happen [in 2011]."
Instead, the Europeans went 7-5, with Davies halving her match against fellow "old-timer" Juli Inkster.
The day before, Davies put up a full point and made a bit of history in the process. She and fellow Englishwoman Melissa Reid won their four-balls match and Davies passed Annika Sorenstam for the all-time lead in points.
Davies, who turns 50 in October, was 27 for the first Solheim Cup in 1990. She's played with 14 partners in Solheim matches. That includes Reid, who wasn't even born when Davies won her first LPGA event, in July 1987.
"It's nice to play with younger players," Davies said, "because I think I possibly give them some confidence, which is what you need in Solheim play."
Davies felt as if she could play with any partner, though she was surprised when she was paired for the first time with Sorenstam in 2005. They were the top two Europeans for a long time, so they always had been paired with other players to spread the wealth, as it were. They won their lone match together.
"I admire Laura; she brought so much to the game, with her personality and the way she plays," Sorenstam said. "When I got the chance to play with her, it was a big deal for me. It was fun. We had very different playing styles. She likes to gamble."
Davies always knew the numbers, age-wise, would catch up to her. She understood the simple reality that the end of her participation in the Solheim Cup had to come sometime. But she wishes it could have gone on forever.
"It's my favorite event," Davies said. "I feel it's the one time when we're the main attraction that week in the world of golf."