Europe leads after a long opening day at the Solheim Cup

September 23, 2011

DUNSANY, Ireland -- Steve McQueen and James Garner were nowhere to be seen, but the United States still managed to pull off the golfing equivalent of the "Great Escape" at Killeen Castle in Ireland. At the end of a seemingly endless opening day marked by a quite disgraceful pace of play that will have done nothing to sell women's professional golf to an already dubious public, Europe, despite dominating much of the proceedings, will carry only a slender one-point lead into the second day of the 12th Solheim Cup.

By way of example, the top afternoon four-ball match between Morgan Pressel/Paula Creamer and Laura Davies/Mel Reid took more than five and a half hours to complete. But even that was outstripped by the bottom game between Suzann Pettersen/Anna Nordqvist and Cristie Kerr/Michelle Wie. That far from sprightly quartet took a mind-numbing five hours and 40 minutes to complete all 18 holes.

Three of the four post-lunch matches, in fact, exceeded the prescribed -- and incredibly generous -- time of five hours and 20 minutes. It wasn't pretty but it was definitely ponderous. A huge factor in the slowness being the much-criticized need of so many players to have their caddies line them up for both full shots and putts. It is surely time for that time-consuming and often-pointless practice to be outlawed.