Saturday, August 22, 2015

Slumping Creamer in doubt as Solheim pick

Paula Creamer (pictured above) and Michelle Wie both missed the cut Friday at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, but they seemed headed in different directions with the Solheim Cup a month away.
Creamer won’t qualify for the American team, and her stunning collapse in the second round throws into question her candidacy as a captain’s pick. Creamer shot 81 at Vancouver Golf Club to miss her third consecutive cut.
While Wie struggled Friday shooting 75, she appeared to play pain- free, with no limp or noticeable signs her injured left hip, knee and ankle were still a problem. 
Wie has secured a spot on the team with Sunday’s conclusion of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open marking the end of qualifying. She’s fourth on the U.S. points list. The only question heading to Canada was whether Wie was going to be healthy enough to play next month in Germany.
“Even though she’s playing poorly, it doesn’t look like it’s because of the ankle,” Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin said.
U.S. captain Juli Inkster said at week’s start that she would be in close contact with Wie and asked only that Wie be candid on how she’s feeling. 
Really, though, there’s no compelling reason for Wie to pull out of the Solheim Cup at this point. She has three weeks to continue to heal and knock some rust off before playing the Evian Championship the week before the Solheim Cup. Inkster has until the start of the Solheim Cup’s opening ceremony at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club to make a change because of injury. If Wie determines before then that she can’t play, Inkster will be allowed to choose a replacement.
The idea a Solheim Cup will be staged without Creamer, a stalwart in earlier American dominance of the event, would have seemed hard to fathom even a month ago, but the shaky state of her game and confidence puts Inkster in a difficult spot. Creamer, 29, has a 12-6-5 record in five Solheim Cups.
“It would be hard to leave Paula off the team, but I need my best players,” Inkster said at week’s start. “We’ve lost the last two times, and I really want to turn that around.”
Inkster and Creamer share a strong Solheim Cup bond. They were a formidable duo early in Creamer’s career. They were 3-2-1 as partners. The decision whether to include Creamer on this year’s team can’t be an easy one for Inkster.
Creamer, Brittany Lang and Jessica Korda are all Solheim Cup veterans who sit outside the qualifying criteria. Korda’s the only one of the three to make the cut in Canada, and she just made it on the number. Korda entered this week having battled an elbow injury this summer. She made the cut in just one of her previous six starts. Lang played some solid golf this summer before missing Friday’s cut.
The weekend looks like it’s going to be all about the captain’s picks now.
Gerina Piller and Alison Lee put themselves in good positions to hold down the final spots on the American Solheim Cup points list and the world rankings list. Piller, who holds the eighth and final qualifying spot on the points list, shot 70 Friday and sits tied for 15th in the Canadian Open. Lee, who holds the second and final spot on the world rankings list, shot 70 and sits tied for eighth.
Inkster said at week’s start that Creamer, Korda, Lang, Mo Martin, Austin Ernst and Christina Kim were on her radar as players on the bubble. Martin and Ernst both made the cut in Canada and are making strong showings for a second consecutive week. They both tied for fifth in Portland last week.
 Kim also made the cut Friday. Inkster’s captain’s picks will almost certainly come from that group, barring an unforeseen change in the points races.