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Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis: 'Missed opportunity for golf' not connecting better with Ryder Cup

Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup taking place in successive weeks for the first time, with the women's event taking place beginning in Spain on Friday ahead of the men's contest in Rome from September 29; Watch both events exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf

Image: Stacy Lewis believes the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup could have been marketed better together

USA captain Stacy Lewis believes the golfing world has “missed an opportunity” by not doing more to better connect the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup this month.

The two events are being played over successive weeks for the first time, with scheduling conflicts since the Ryder Cup was moved to odd-numbered years when the biennial contest was pushed back 12 months by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Both events took place in 2021, with Europe enjoying Solheim Cup success in Ohio three weeks before Team USA won the Ryder Cup by a record-breaking margin at Whistling Straits, while this year's contests are being played back-to-back in the Mediterranean.

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Watch the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the Solheim Cup is from September 22-24 and the Ryder Cup is live from September 29-October 1

Europe chase a third consecutive Solheim Cup win when they host the Americans at Finca Cortesin in Spain, ahead of Luke Donald's Ryder Cup side looking to regain the trophy at Marco Simone in Rome next week, with Lewis believing more should have been done to connect the tournaments.

When asked about whether the two events should be marketed together, Lewis said in her pre-tournament press conference: "1,000 per cent, yes. I thought this could have been marketed together as two weeks in Europe, two cups for play.

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As the Solheim Cup gets underway on September 22, we take a look back at some classic winning moments from down the years between Team USA and Team Europe

"I think it was a missed opportunity for the sport of golf. I wish that people could get the sponsorship things out of their head and figure out how we can work together, because this may not ever happen again of the two cups being in the same year.

"I thought it was a massive missed opportunity. We tried to do a little bit with the guys and just weren't really able to move things along the way I would have liked. I just would like to see it for the good of the game. It's not to further women's golf. Let's further the game of golf in general.

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Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen looks ahead to the 2023 Solheim Cup and says the players are set on what will happen on Friday with regards to pairings

"I probably spent more time on it than I should have. But whether it was timing or it was too late in the process, I don't know. To really market it correctly, this probably had to happen two years ago. It's something that going forward, I think the game of golf needs to get on the same page and do better with."

The Solheim Cup is switching to even-numbered years to avoid a clash with the Ryder Cup, starting with the 2024 contest at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia next September, although Lewis feels the two events should stay in the same period.

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"I actually think for the good of the game, for the game of golf, I think two weeks like this could be really cool if we could continue it for the future," Lewis added. "I actually really liked them in the same year, if we can get some common ground and do it together."

Are Team USA the favourites?

Europe have won back-to-back editions of the Solheim Cup and have five of the world's top 20 in their line-up this time around, although Team USA can offer two of the world's top three and a host of players who have won on the LPGA Tour in recent months.

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Dame Laura Davies believes the European team is the strongest she can remember in the history of the Solheim Cup

"I think Europe's the favourite," Lewis admitted. "They have won the last two, we're on their soil and they have a great team that has a ton of experience in this event.

"So you look at history and, you know, it doesn't bode well for us. But I love our chances. I love these rookies. I think they're going to have a great week and hopefully surprise a lot of people."

Who will win the 2023 Solheim Cup? Watch exclusively live this September on Sky Sports! Live coverage from the opening ceremony begins at 5pm on Thursday, with the opening day's play live on the Friday from 6.30am. Stream the Solheim Cup and more with NOW.

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