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Prestige Unlike Any Other – The Solheim Cup

The Solheim CupGolf is definitely one of the most popular sports of all time. All over the globe, there are countless amateur and professional golf competitions, beautifully designed golf courses, famous and well established golf clubs, numerous sponsors and golf equipment and attire manufacturers, and above all there are many golf aficionados that follow the sport. A team golf competition is one of the most sought after by fans and players. The Ryder Cup is one of the well known golf events for men and women golfers have the Solheim Cup as one of their main team events.

As a golf competition, teams representing the United States and Europe compete with each other in the Solheim Cup every two years. The namesake of the Solheim Cup is from Karsten Solheim, a well known Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer. Karsten Solheim was a major driving force in the conceptualization and creation of this prestigious golf competition.

The inaugural Solheim Cup was held in 1990 at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando, Florida. The United States with Kathy Whitworth as their captain, won with a score of 11 ½. Team Europe’s score was 4 ½ with their team captain Mickey Walker. The Solheim Cup was staged in even number of years since then until 2002 and alternated with the men’s Ryder Cup. There was a major reshuffling of the major golf competitions because of the 9/11 tragedy in the United States and the Solheim Cup was then switched to odd numbered years since 2003. The most recent 2011 Solheim Cup resulted to team Europe, captained by Alison Nicholas, as the victor over team USA having scores of 15 and 13 respectively. For the 12 times that the Solheim Cup has been held since 1990, team USA leads by winning the Solheim Cup trophy 8 times over team Europe’s 4 wins.

A points system is being utilized in the selection process for the players of the US team. The players on the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) earn points for ranking within the top 20 on the tour. On the other hand, the same system is being utilized by the European team as 7 players are being selected based on the results of the LET (Ladies European Union). This is done so that the best European players that play mainly on golf events in the LPGA are still selected to make the European team competitive.

The Solheim Cup golf trophy is one of the most coveted in golf and certainly one of the most elegant. In the world of sports, Waterford Crystal trophies are always associated with supreme achievement especially in the prestigious sport of golf. It is no wonder why Waterford Crystal was commissioned to craft the Solheim Cup golf trophy early in 1990 with the efforts of retired export sales manager Kevin Hall. The trophy was designed by Billy Briggs, one of Waterford Crystal’s top designers and master cutters.

Considering the Solheim Cup trophy as one of the most important projects of his career, Billy called upon his experiences as a skilled amateur athlete for inspiration. As compared to other golf trophies that are gothic inspired, the Solheim Cup trophy is sleek with flowing lines. This urn-shaped golf trophy then became instantly recognizable as a symbol of this golf competition as it reflects the prestige of the Solheim Cup. Just imagine the elegance that 200 years of evolving glassmaking craftsmanship being incorporated into this sophisticated work of art.

The creation of the Solheim Cup required only the highest standards in glassmaking’s blowing, cutting and engraving through techniques that originated from ancient Egyptians. This resulted to rich decorations and deeply incised patterns. The center panel of the Solheim Cup golf trophy features a wonderful intaglio impression of The Solheim Cup logo, which incorporates the trophy itself.

Weighing over 20 pounds, the Solheim Cup is rather heavy. From its mahogany base to its top the golf trophy measures 19 inches in height. Its top diameter spans about 4 inches and its base diameter is 8 inches. With all the intricacies involved in the creation of the Solheim Cup golf trophy, it has a price tag of a whopping $50,000.

The Solheim Cup together with its elegant golf trophy indeed has made its mark in the world of golf. Each year, more and more people are drawn in to be part of this prestigious sporting event between players from Europe and the United States.

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