Stacey Lewis: ‘There is no tournament with as much pressure as Solheim’

There are loves that don’t have to start well. Stacey Lewis’ first shot at the Solheim Cup, the biennial women’s match between the US and Europe. “It was terrible. She went far to the left, in the middle of some bushes. But she was a rookie!”, recalls the American captain now, laughing in a room at the dazzling club Finca Cortesn, in Casares (Mlaga), where in September 2023. , will have a mandatory mission: to return the cup after two consecutive losses.

Q: How important is this tournament for you to win two majors?

Answer: Solheim Cup is something unique, incomparable. I’ve won two majors, many other things, but the Solheim is the competition where golfers play under the most pressure. It’s different. You are not playing for a trophy for yourself. You try to win for your friends, for your captains, for your country. And that means a lot. It’s also very funny. After all, you remember more of what happened that week off the field than on it.

Q: Like what?

A: I remember my first appearance in Ireland. I have never been so nervous on hole 1 in my life. We were warming up very early in the dark on the practice field and we started hearing people singing. It was something incredible. Above all, the atmosphere of the team, how we supported each other in Des Moines 2017 or in Germany 2015 in a field we didn’t know… In the end, you remember the experiences beyond the images you see on TV. Much more than wins or losses.

Q: How do you think a captain should act?

A: The captain has a lot of work starting now. You have to decide the uniforms, the bags, the choice of players that I can choose… Then you have to talk to the 12, program everything, decide the partners, who to leave… There is a lot of previous work and once you start game, what you do is support each golfer. Nothing else.

You are not playing a trophy for yourself. You are trying to win for your friends, for your country. and that means a lot

Question: After two losses, are you going to use any additional item, something like a psychologist or something?

A: They already have their own structures. They have psychologists, coaches and it is about normalizing the week within the team structure. I’m not going to teach you how to swing. I’m a player and I know I don’t need to tell you how to kick. They need you to take their mind off the golf course. It’s about making this week normal and there will be more guarantees of success.

Q: Are you noticing the global growth this competition is having?

A: Well, it’s generally a women’s sport. More and more people are interested in seeing it. It has already over 20 years of tradition. Obviously, this isn’t Ryder Cup history, but we’re on our way. And one of the dreams since childhood is to be part of the team. We hope that this edition in Spain will inspire more girls.

Q: Is there an atmosphere of revenge in your team?

A: I notice that the team wants to win. And after seeing Europe’s celebration, they feel they want to experience it too. Now we have to play across the Atlantic and it will be more difficult, but after those two losses (Gleneagles 2019 and Ohio 2021) the team is more experienced.

Question: Did you analyze the cause of the defeats?

A: There is no particular reason, but the most important thing is that they were very close. At Gleneagles he was literally lost by one stroke, and at Toledo if two strokes had gone the other way the result would have been different. Now it’s not about changing everything or reinventing.

Q: Because, as they say, Europe understands the collective game better?

Oh, i do not know. I think in the end whoever wins says they played better as a team. Because of the format, the first two days are very important. And the doubles selection will also be very important, although later the singles are the ones that finish Solheim.

Q: Do you feel you are managing the best team in history?

A: I hope we do. The team we had in 2017 in Des Moines was probably our strongest yet. Now we have a lot of experienced young people who have won a lot, who have a lot of international experience. People like Lexi (Thompson), Nellie (Korda), Jessie (Korda), Daniel (Kang), who I hope will lead the rest of the young players.

Q: It will be played in Spain for the first time. What do you think of Finca Cortesn?

A: The club is really nice. And then the views with the sea in the background and the mountain. The golf course is hard to walk on – my caddy will be very tired at the end of the week – and this will be a good test. It requires a hit, the par 5s can be reached in two shots… and is in amazing condition. On a normal summer day, look at the greens. Excited to see the team here.

Q: What do you think of Carlota Siganda, the best Spaniard and one of the mainstays in Europe?

A: Carlota and Azahara are part of the LPGA and we’ve played a lot with them. I can imagine what it would be like to arrive at the beginning of 1 Carlotta with the audience excited and shouting. They are players who can withstand the pressure. Carlotta has a big impact on this team.

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