A 100-year-old woman earned social media stardom having impressed professionals with a few swings at this weekend’s Dutch Open on the European Tour. The joke goes that Susan Hosang was enjoying her 60s as the 16th Solheim Cup got under way at Gleneagles.
A successful opening day for Europe was overshadowed by a curse of modern golf: slow play. The matter was particularly stark in the afternoon fourballs as the first match took five and a quarter hours until ending on the 16th green. Lizette Salas was singled out for a warning by officials but the unwillingness of those presiding to implement proper penalties is as recurring a theme as it is a depressing one. Salas did not appear worse than many others.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
Europe is most commonly considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term “continent” implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border between Europe and Asia does not follow any state boundaries: Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan are transcontinental countries. Spain is also transcontinental in that its main portion is on the Iberian peninsula (Europe) while pockets of Spanish territory are located across the Strait of Gibraltar on North African territory (i.e. mainly Melilla, Ceuta, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean).
Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth’s surface (6.8% of land area). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of the world population) as of 2016. The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.
Europe, in particular ancient Greece and ancient Rome, was the birthplace of Western civilization. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration, art and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, almost all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic, cultural and social change in Western Europe and eventually the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall.
In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals. It includes all European states except for Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union (EU), a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation. The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most commonly used among Europeans; and the EU’s Schengen Area abolishes border and immigration controls among most of its member states.
Europe lead USA but Solheim Cup's opening day is marred by slow play
Solheim is Norwegian for “Home of the Sun” and may refer to:
Solheim, Sogn og Fjordane, a village in Gloppen municipality, Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway
E. H. Hobe House-Solheim or Solheim, a house in White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Solheim Cup, biennial golf tournament for professional women golfers
Solheim IF, Norwegian football club from Lørenskog
Solheim, Bergen, a village north of Minde, Bergen, Hordaland county, Norway
Solheim, Nordland, a village in Nordland, Norway
Sólheimajökull, a glacier in southern Iceland between the volcanoes Katla and Eyjafjallajökull
Paul Lawrie, a former Open champion, enjoyed his visit to Gleneagles but spoke out about the “absolutely brutally slow” pace of play. Juli Inkster, the US captain, concurred. “It’s painfully slow out there,” she said.
For television viewers, let alone those who had paid good money to spectate, this was borderline unwatchable. It is to the detriment of what should be a marquee sporting event that the scenario continued, and continued, and continued to the point where it was the key narrative. That Europe enter Saturday with a lead, four and a half to three and a half, seemed almost an afterthought.
Europe lead USA but Solheim Cup's opening day is marred by slow play
Captaincy can be defined by bold calls. Catriona Matthew would have been subject to criticism had Anne van Dam and Suzann Pettersen slumped to defeat; instead this unlikely duo delivered a fourball showing which fully endorsed their captain’s faith.
Van Dam, a Solheim Cup debutant, was nerveless as Salas and Danielle Kang were swatted aside by 42. Pettersen had undertaken pre-tournament media duties while barely able to speak because of a throat problem; the Norwegian was duly left out of the opening session. In Van Dam and Pettersen – the latter is playing in this event for the ninth time – Matthew had the perfect mix of youth and experience. Pettersen set the tone with a wonderful putt converted from 50ft at the 6th for a two. By the turn this European pair were four up, an irretrievable situation for the US.
As Matthew celebrated the excellence of Van Dam and Pettersen, this proved a grisly Friday the 13th for Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist. The Swedes were demolished, 75, by Angel Yin and Ally McDonald, matching a Solheim Cup record. McDonald is worthy of special praise; she was an 11th-hour substitute here after the back injury suffered by Stacy Lewis.
Europe took a one point lead into session two. And yet, the overwhelming stars of the foursomes show were American. The Korda sisters, Jessica and Nelly, thumped Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson 64. Petr Korda, the golfers’ father and a former grand slam tennis champion, was among the Gleneagles galleries.
The opening match of the competition was halved as Bronte Law and Carlota Ciganda could not be separated from Marina Alex and Morgan Pressel. Law and Ciganda earned another half point but were disappointed as Lexi Thompson holed a lengthy putt at the last to haul the Europeans back. Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier enjoyed a 21 foursomes success over Thompson and Brittany Altomare. Hall and Boutier sat out the fourballs.
Charley Hull’s fondness for this biennial competition was again apparent as she combined with Azahara Muñoz for a 21 foursomes win over Megan Khang and Annie Park. In the fourballs Hull and Muñoz shared a point with Altomare and Nelly Korda.