TOLEDO, Ohio – Can you picture it? A massive u-shaped structure that seats 3,000 rowdy Solheim Cup fans situated around one teeing area at Inverness Club, serving both the 1st and 10th holes. Rather than a tunnel, Solheim Cup players will walk across a bridge from the practice putting green, over the road and through the crowd, likely high-fiving their way down the stairs and onto the tee box, music blaring.
In Dennis Baggett’s mind, the crowds at Inverness are going from zero to 150,000 in 13 months’ time.
This week at the LPGA Drive on Championship, players and television viewers are seeing Inverness in its purest form. No fans. No leaderboards. No grandstands. No hospitality suites. Maybe two ropes.
The build-out around the first tee next year will extend into where players are parking their cars this week. The ninth and 18th holes will be switched for Solheim so that players can make the short walk to the 10th tee and back into the rockin’ grandstand. On Sunday, players making the turn in their singles matches will have to wait on players who are just beginning the round. The action there will be nonstop.
Quick video explaining what this teeing area will look like at next year’s Solheim Cup (just pretend there are 3,000 people cheering). pic.twitter.com/MlfqTdK4uC
— Beth Ann Nichols (@GolfweekNichols) August 2, 2020
Exactly the kind of environment that Danielle Kang thrives in. As a Solheim rookie in Des Moines, Iowa, Kang revved up the gallery on the first tee, encouraging them to scream and shout right through her swing.
Apparently Kang doesn’t mind the quiet either, as she’s tied for the lead here at Inverness with European Solheim Cup players Celine Boutier and Jodi Ewart Shadoff. With so many Asian players opting to skip the two events in Ohio, past and potential Solheim Cuppers are peppering the board.
Mel Reid, a three-time European Solheim Cup player who served as vice captain last year at Gleneages, said Inverness is one of the toughest courses she’s ever played on the LPGA, a fact that she loves.
“Kind of the running joke between players and caddies this week,” said Reid, “is it’s a major for $1 million.”
The LPGA lost one of its five majors to COVID-19 this season when the Evian Championship was canceled. Inverness, a course that has hosted four U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships, has certainly given the women an unexpected treat. It was only seven weeks ago that the LPGA approached Inverness about hosting the last-minute event and five weeks ago that the club agreed.
While the first round played firm and fast, the second offered a completely different challenge as rain ruled the day. There was a 45-minute delay Saturday afternoon for maintenance crews to squeegee water off the greens. Kang marveled at the way Inverness changed like a chameleon.
By: Beth Ann Nichols
Title: Next year's Solheim Cup buildout will add to the Inverness splendor
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/08/02/next-years-solheim-cup-buildout-will-add-to-the-inverness-splendor/
Published Date: Sun, 02 Aug 2020 11:00:02 +0000
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