Team USA members proud to represent nation at Solheim Cup

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 10:23 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Team USA will fight to reclaim its Solheim Cup title from Team Europe this weekend at a tournament that’s all about national pride.

When the team takes to the green, it will also represent an entire country going through some difficult times. The event happens in the shadow of a resurging COVID-19 pandemic, a chaotic end to the war in Afghanistan, and natural disasters ranging from wildfires to an historic hurricane.

Fans often use golf as their escape from their troubles and the chaos of the world. Team USA hopes it can serve as that distraction this weekend and give fans a reason to smile.

It’s not a responsibility the players and captains take lightly.

“At the end of the day it’s an honor to represent the USA,” said Megan Khang, who is appearing in her second Solheim Cup. “I embrace it very much. I’m sure everyone out here wants to do not only themselves proud, but the team and the country.”

Team USA has home course advantage this year as it takes on The Inverness Club in Toledo. It holds a 7-1 record when playing the tournament on U.S. soil; it lost the 2019 tournament to Team Europe.

Pat Hurst is captaining Team USA. She was named captain one year, seven months and 23 days ago. A veteran of the Solheim Cup, Hurst was an assistant captain in 2015, 2017 and 2019. She played in the tournament in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2007.

“The feeling never gets old when you represent your country. I love it,” Hurst said. “I love standing up on the tee, knowing when they say, United States of America, it’s the proudest moment for me, and just wearing the red, white and blue, that, it’s nothing that, I mean, it’s just, it’s an awesome feeling.”

Stacy Lewis, born in Toledo, is one of Hurst’s assistant captains. She’s represented her country before, too, but she said the Solheim Cup has a different feeling.

“Nothing compares to these events and Solheim Cup, specifically the first tee and that experience,” Lewis said. “I’ve done the International Crown, I’ve done the Olympics, and Solheim Cup is just different. I love opening ceremonies when the flags are being raised. It’s just, we don’t get that, we get it a couple, you’re lucky if you get it every two years. So it’s just different, it’s an unbelievable honor and it’s a team that everybody wants to be on.”

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said Wednesday that more than 130,000 tickets have been sold for the three-day tournament. Nearly all of them are from the U.S. as COVID-19 is still leading to travel restrictions and hesitations. He said about 1,000 fans in attendance will be from Europe.

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