• Alistair Tait

The strange Curtis Cup conundrum

The game's top women amateurs are facing a nightmare choice after the strange decision to stage the Curtis Cup against the Solheim Cup in September next year.

I fear we're into Charley Hull territory.

Next year's Solheim Cup will take place at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio from August 31-September 6. The junior match always takes place the same week as the Solheim Cup, usually on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Solheim date has been in the diary for a wee while, which makes it odd the R&A and USGA would agree to hold the postponed 2020 Curtis Cup at Conwy Golf Club, Wales the very same weekend.

It means the top amateurs from the United States and Great Britain & Ireland face an either or choice of playing in the Curtis or Junior Solheim Cup.

Hull knows all about divided loyalties when it comes to experiencing big time golf against playing for her country in the Curtis Cup. Hull was turfed out of the 2012 Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup squad when she opted to play in the Ana Inspiration rather than take part in a conflicting Curtis Cup squad session at Nairn, venue for the 2012 match.

It was a strange decision considering Hull was the highest ranked English woman in the world at number nine on the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Thankfully, common sense prevailed on that occasion. The Ladies Golf Union backed down from its ludicrous decision. Hull was picked for the 2012 team and contributed a valuable point in singles play to help GB&I win the cup.

The Curtis Cup should be a highlight for any amateur. Ditto the Junior Solheim Cup. The chance for women amateurs to play in the match that precedes the Solheim Cup is the chance of a lifetime. Aside from the competition, they then get to watch the professionals strut their stuff. Believe me, the Junior Solheim Cup players are amongst the vocal on the first tee when the cheering starts. Oh, and mingling with the game’s top players isn’t a bad bonus either.

Hull played in the 2011 Junior Solheim Cup. Georgia Hall, Bronte Law, Anne Van Dam, Carlota Ciganda, Caroline Masson, Anna Nordqvist, Azahara Munoz, Caroline Hedwall and Melissa Reid all played a part in last year's European Solheim Cup victory at Gleneagles. They are among those Europeans who have played in the junior and senior Solheim Cup.

Americans who’ve played in both include Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, Paula Creamer, Vicky Hurst, Meghan Kang, and Nelly and Jessica Korda.

It’s hard to imagine what decision these players would’ve made if they’d had to choose between the Curtis or Junior Solheim Cup. Thankfully they didn’t have to make that choice.

The class of 2021 shouldn't have to choose either. As victorious 2019 European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew tweeted when she discovered the revised Curtis Cup dates:

“This is terrible news for potential players who would also be eligible to play in junior @solheimcup2021 Don’t understand why you would make this a conflicting date @TheSolheimCup.

Agreed. I realise schedules are congested, but we’re over a year away. Surely the R&A and USGA can get their heads together and come up with a new Curtis Cup date so the game’s best amateurs aren’t faced with the mother of all choices?

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