Both Solheim teams are top heavy

KEVIN CURRIE, SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 3:08 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- European captain Alison Nicholas rounded out her team on Monday, so both squads are now set for the 2011 Solheim Cup.

There will be eight rookies, three Americans and five Europeans, as well as four ladies playing their second Solheim Cup, two for each side.

When Rosie Jones added Vicky Hurst and Ryann O'Toole, people thought she may have gone a little too far down the well of talent. But she really didn't have too many options.

Veteran American Solheim Cup players like Pat Hurst and Natalie Gulbis ended 15th and 16th on the points list and really are not playing their best golf right now.

So why not bring two rookies along? For all we know, Vicky Hurst and O'Toole might be the backbone of the American squad for years to come.

The Americans will be led by Juli Inkster, who is also a vice captain, and Cristie Kerr. They have combined for 13 previous appearances and a 24-20-8 record. Angela Stanford and Paula Creamer are both playing in their fourth Solheim Cup.

The European squad is equally as top heavy led by Laura Davies. The Englishwoman has competed in all 11 previous Solheim Cups and will lead the Euros when the tournament starts in late September at Killeen Castle.

Davies has amassed a 21-17-5 record and sits a half-point behind Annika Sorenstam for most points earned at the event. Davies is also one win shy of Sorenstam's record for most victories (22) at the Solheim Cup.

Sorenstam will have a front-row seat watching Davies attempt to break her records this year as the Swede will serve as one of two vice captains for Nicholas.

In her previous 11 appearances, Davies has played 43 out of a possible 48 matches. That is six more matches than Sorenstam and 12 more than Inkster, who is third on that list.

Davies will be joined on the European team by stalwarts Sophie Gustafson (eighth appearance) as well as Catriona Matthew and Suzann Pettersen, who are both playing their fifth Solheim Cup.

The combined records for the teams slightly favours the Europeans. Their team is 56-54-25 in 34 previous Solheim Cups, while the U.S. has combined for a 49-34-22 mark in 27 Cups.

Take Inkster and Davies away from their respective squads and the records are even closer. The Euros are 35-37-20 minus Davies, while the U.S. is 34-24-16 excluding Inkster's record.

The outcome of the Solheim Cup will be determined as much by the veterans as it will by the rookies.

And most of the eight first-timers are rookies in name only. All eight have won a professional tournament, the biggest of which belongs to American Stacy Lewis, who won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco.

O'Toole, who was the wildest of the wild card picks for both teams, does have three victories on the Futures Tour, but has fewer LPGA Tour starts (9) than Davies has Solheim Cup appearances (11).

Mixing the young and old, the experienced and the rookies - that is what team events are all about.


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