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Golf  

Fans enjoy back-to-back Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. But US women's captain sees 'missed opportunity'

CASARES, Spain (AP) — Golf fans have a unique opportunity to watch the two greatest team events in the sport being played in back-to-back weeks, with the Solheim Cup in Spain being followed by next weekend's Ryder Cup in Italy.

And while many fans were planning trips to attend both, some prominent figures in women's golf felt the Solheim Cup could have done a better job of feeding off the popularity of the men's Ryder Cup.

“I thought this could have been marketed together as two weeks in Europe, two Cups for play,” said Stacy Lewis, captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup team. “I think it was a missed opportunity for the sport of golf. I wish that people could get the sponsorship things out of their head and let’s figure out how we can work together because this may not ever happen again of the two Cups being in the same year. So I thought it was a massive missed opportunity.”

It is the first time both events are being played in back-to-back weeks. The Ryder Cup was played on even-numbered years from 2002 until the 2020 edition was postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Solheim Cup will be played in 2024 again, and the Ryder Cup in 2025, with organizers keeping the competitions in different years.

“We tried to do a little bit with the guys and just weren’t really able to move things along the way I would have liked,” Lewis said. “I just would like to see it for the good of the game. It’s not to further women’s golf. Let’s further the game of golf in general.”

Lewis said she tried “really hard” to get organizers on the same page.

“I probably spent more time on it than I should have,” she said. “But whether it was timing or it was too late in the process, I don’t know. I mean, to really market it correctly, this probably had to happen two years ago. So it’s something that going forward, I think the game of golf needs to get on the same page and do better with.”

The LPGA, which helps organize the Solheim Cup, said in a statement that there were “logistical complications presented with bringing together two organizations”, but added that “we know more collaboration between the men’s and women’s golfers representing the United States would prove beneficial for athletes, fans and partners alike.”

For many die-hard golf fans, everything turned out perfect for this two-week span.

“It worked out great to have them together like this,” said Patty Evans, a 70-year-old American from Reno, Nevada. “If you are going to come all the way from the United States to Spain, you might as well just walk over to Italy, right?”

Evans came from the U.S. with a group of about two dozen people to spend the two weeks in Europe touring Spain and southern Italy inbetween the two tournaments. Many Europeans were doing the same, coming to Spain before heading to Italy for the highly anticipated Ryder Cup in Rome.

“It was perfect for us,” said Amanda Reynolds, who visited from Ireland. “You get a little bit of Spain and a little bit of Italy while watching some good golf.”

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf



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