US captain Meg Mallon busy as Solheim approaches
SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP)
Meg Mallon, captain of the United States team at the fast-approaching Solheim Cup matches, likens her job to being a very busy wedding planner.
Or maybe the mother of several brides-to-be.
''I compared it to planning a wedding for seven straight days, a different wedding every day,'' she said during Friday's second round of the Marathon Classic. ''It's that complicated, yes, for 12 players.''
The clock is ticking for those hoping to make the American side - and for its captain. Mallon and assistants Dottie Pepper and Laura Diaz will make two picks to fill out the 12-player roster that will take on the Europeans Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club.
Even with 10 players competing for assured spots on the team, there's a lot left to do.
Mallon is trying to watch and talk with as many American players as possible in the final two tournaments before the team is finalized after the Women's British Open's final round on Aug. 4 at the Old Course at St. Andrew's.
''My countdown is two tournaments,'' she said. ''There's still a lot of points to get. So it's an interesting couple of weeks coming up here, which is pretty exciting to watch, especially with how well the Americans are playing. That's the great thing.''
Heading into this week, Stacy Lewis has assured herself of a spot with a wide margin in the points standings.
''I am so excited,'' said Lewis, ranked No. 2 in the world. ''This Solheim Cup has been on my radar for two years now with the way things ended in Ireland (a 15-13 win by the Europeans). I didn't play well. The team, it didn't turn out the way we wanted. So I've really been excited. It's getting close. It's fun.''
Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson and Brittany Lang fill out the next seven spots in the latest points list, comprising a blend of veterans and youngsters.
The next two spots on the team will be filled with the highest-ranked eligible players from the Rolex Rankings, with Mallon and her helpers rounding out the team with the last two picks.
After the top eight on the current U.S. Solheim points list, the next seven players include Morgan Pressel, who has played on the last three U.S. teams, and Michelle Wie, who has been a member of the last two.
Other top point-getters include Gerina Piller, Lizette Salas, Jennifer Johnson, Katie Futcher and Nicole Castrale.
''There are so many of them playing so well (while) trying to make the team,'' Mallon said. ''The hard part for me is only selecting two. That's why I'm here this week - and I'll be at the British Open as well - to watch players. I watched nine holes today, a few players, and am going to go back out this afternoon to watch some more.''
Creamer, a part of winning teams in 2005, '07 and '09, can't wait.
''We have a great group of girls and it's going to be a tight race coming down the stretch the next couple of events,'' she said. ''We'll see who is pulling through at the British Open.''
The U.S. had won three Solheim Cups in a row until losing the last meeting.
Mallon said she may rely on her intuition when she makes her captain's selections.
''I can look at logically who should be the picks,'' she said. ''Come Sunday of the British Open, that gut feeling may come into play.''
Then she hopped into a golf cart and headed out to see what her charges were doing out on the course.
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