Well, what a superb contest that was on the Costa del Sol, on a godawful golf course that I’ve unkindly – but with feeling because I spent a lot of time tramping around the bloody place – re-christened Stinka Cortesin.  The resort may be wonderful, the hotel beyond 5-star but the course, described in bunkered mag’s mainly Ryder Cup preview (with a few pages of Solheim) as “renowned across Europe as a gem”, was beyond ghastly.

Very hard to show all the ups and downs and side slopes but these intrepid souls are heading from the 15th tee to the distant fairway and the green up yet another hill…It was not for the weak of heart, bandaged of knee or new of hip.

The players and caddies at the Solheim Cup performed wonders to produce some stunning golf in sometimes sizzling temperatures but it was the fans, not all of us even in the first flush of menopause, let alone youth (whatever that is), who were the real stars.  We all, every single one of us, deserve medals for our efforts – or, at the very least, a vote of thanks and a couple of manageable venues in future.

Fortunately, the Virginia Boys, as I called them (they were old enough not to take offence), who were manning one of the stalls in the Andalucia Plaza, where there was a screen, chairs, not enough parasols and the merchandise shop, assured me that there’s nothing hilly about next year’s venue.  It’s the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, on the shores of Lake Manassas, in Gainesville, Virginia, just about 3o miles from Washington DC.

Virginia here we come? There’s a bar code somewhere to give you all the details – and the chance to win flights and tickets.

And when we’re back in Europe, in 2026, we’ll be in Holland, not renowned for its sharp-edged mountains.  We’ll all be a lot older then, if we’re still around, so the less strain on creaking joints the better…And we’ll probably need the waterproofs.  Europe almost always win in the wet.

Nothing wet about this Solheim Cup. Old friends Bennett (left) and Esterl have some fun.

Under the nonsensical convention that the holders retain the trophy in the event of a tie, this may technically count as an unprecedented third European win in a row – but I don’t think so, so if they want to win three in a row, they have to start again next year.  As an old golfing friend said to me, “Don’t think this retaining the cup is a good idea.  They should share it.  It WAS a draw.  Both sides made great shots and blunders.”  Alistair Tait, who knows a thing or two about golf, made the same point in his blog entitled “Nothing Wrong With Honours Even”.

I thought it was terrific when the Lions shared the series against the All Blacks in New Zealand, though lots of people moaned and talked about some sort of arbitrary tiebreaker or shootout or whatever.  No way.  They’d fought each other to a standstill and a shared series it was.  One-off games like finals need a decider of some sort but not a series.  Cricket understands draws but most Americans know nothing about cricket and find the concept of a draw anathema, utterly baffling.  They want a winner.  Tell me though, what would have been the point of putting some knackered players, who’d given their all – and a knackered audience – through more, totally unnecessary suffering?

One of the joys of the Solheim is bumping into old friends unexpectedly. Patty Sheehan (right!), one of the all-time greats, out at the 8th. [Unknown, unsuspecting spectator pressed into snapping service. Many thanks.]

Understandably, having come from 0-4 down, the Europeans celebrated dementedly but it struck me that the Americans, who’d contributed so much to an enthralling contest, didn’t get enough credit – or congratulations.  A few Ryder Cups ago, I remember thinking that I’d keep all camera people, television and photographers, almost everybody in fact, off the green at the end.  There’s such a swarm that the players who’ve completed their match, get swamped and all civility gets swept away.  It’s far too much of an unedifying scrum.

My mate, watching at home on the telly, put it this way:  “Just wish people would not rush on to a green, especially when there is another game behind [Lexi Thompson, who was immense and Emily Pedersen, ditto, the last women out].  US would have been rightly pissed off if Lexi did not close it out.

“Jacklin started this rushing-on nonsense when Torrance holed out and everybody ran after him.  No chance to shake opponent’s hand.  What happened to sportsmanship?  At the Solheim one guy even ran through a bunker to join the celebrations.  Pettersen and Laura D should know better in my opinion…”

The American supporters pulled out all the stops with their outfits.  This is just one example.  Superb.

And here’s another…

In many ways this match reminded me of Loch Lomond, Killeen Castle (still have no clue how we won that one) and Gleneagles last time out.  As the singles progressed it looked as though the Europeans were doomed to defeat and disappointment, undone ultimately by their abysmal start when they lost the first four foursomes.  They clawed back to 8-all before the 12 singles but towards the end it looked as though everything was going horribly wrong from a European point of view.

By this time I was back watching in the bar at the hotel with a load of other assorted exhausted tragics and WhatsApping Mo, who was glued to the box at home…”Getting tense,” I wrote.  “What do you think?

”Think Lexi and Yin will do us in,” the sister responded….”And wouldn’t trust…[name redacted to protect the innocent]…

”No, not at all and all those little putts missed, we’re doomed….Winning’s so much more fun.

”Yes.  A BBU [brave but unavailing] after the first session.  They’ve run out of gas!”

”Yeah, almost bound to happen.”

”I’d settle for 14-all.”

”Creeping closer.  King is there, Carlota must win in front of el rey….[And she did.  And how.]  So pleased for Carlota, you couldn’t make it up.  Brill.”

”Utterly fantastic!”


”You know, you think you’ve seen it all and it’s a one-off…..and then it keeps on happening!”

Golf, bloody hell.

The Whittington Heath team also had a great week – though it took until the last night to get us all together for the photo-shoot….Please ignore the fire extinguisher! [A kindly Scot persuaded to do the needful.]