The Solheim Cup is the greatest tournament!

I cannot say that I dreamt of playing the Solheim cup growing up, because the tournament only started in 1990, when I was 18 years old.  When turning pro in 1992, it quickly became a goal to be a part of the team, although it seemed a hard one to reach.  That year Europe won surprisingly in Scotland.

Players spoke about the amazing feeling to play on a team, to represent Europe, and it was easy to tell, they had a special bond after winning together.

In 1996, I had a chance to get a wild card to the team.  I was still new in the professional game and had just started playing on the LPGA the year before. The Captain, Mickey Wright, understandably went for experience, and I was devastated, but also determined I would reach my goal one day.

In 1998, I had a good season, but was going to be 7 months pregnant at the time of the matches.  Again, the captain, this time Pia Nilsson, chose someone else.

Then, in 2000, I finally got my chance to play at Loch Lomond.  It is hard to explain the excitement and pride I felt. I loved the course, and the huge crowds.  They were singing, shouting, encouraging us, and it felt like performing on a big stage. 

I have always loved match play, so I had a feeling I would perform well, when given the chance to play. I did. I had won all my matches when I went out in the singles on Sunday against Michelle Redman. The atmosphere changed a bit. There was no longer a teammate on my side. It was a bit scary… After 9 holes I was 3 down.

Then there was a delay, because it was raining so hard.  We had great team spirit in the locker room and came back out recharged! On 17 I was one up. All other matches were finished, and I, the rookie, had faith in my hands. I hit my 5 wood  about 15 feet from the hole.  I was so nervous, I remember feeling my hands shake. Somehow I managed to make the putt, and the celebrations erupted!!!

There is no other event like the Solheim Cup for women.  Golf is an individual sport, and life on tour can get lonely. To be part of a team with the best players, to cheer each other on in good times and bad.  To be part of history, and of course to represent not only your country, but the whole continent, is what makes it so special. As well as the crazy crowds.

I played in three more Solheim Cups; 2002,2003,2005. In 2013, when Europe finally won for the first time in the USA, I was vice Captain to Liselotte Neuman, my childhood idol.  Then in 2015, in Germany I was the captain. I was also the junior captain 2009.

I don’t think I have explained how special the event is to me, or how great it has been for my career, after making that winning putt in 2000.

I guarantee, the dream to be one of the 12 chosen players on that team, is now a goal for every young golfer in Europe and the USA.

Congratulations to Spain and everyone involved in this special event!

I cannot wait to stand on the first tee at Finca Cortesin to follow Suzann and her team to another victory!!!

Carin Hjalmarsson