Martin Kaymer’s six foot par putt at the 18th at Medinah at the 2012 Ryder Cup completed one of the most stunning comebacks in Ryder Cup history and electrified the German golfing community. This week, Sandra Gal and Caroline Masson, are hoping to have the same effect on their native country, hoping to win on their home soil in the first Solheim Cup ever staged in Germany.
“Well, that’s my biggest hope with the Solheim Cup, that it’s going to change the image of golf in Germany,” Gal said. “Hopefully it will get a bit of a newer, fresher look, one that is full of passion and enthusiasm. Because I think that’s what the Solheim Cup is all about.”
Golf’s popular in Germany but not as mainstream as it is in Britain or the United States, Gal says, so she’s hoping this week can change that like Kaymer’s putt did in 2012. Germans love team sports, and she’s expecting huge crowds out this week when she tees off in the first group out on Friday. She’s thought about this moment for a long time and the moment won’t be lost. Neither will the nerves.
“I’ve played a couple of German Opens in Munich and we had a lot of spectators there. I was nervous and I played well,” Gal said. “I really cherish that I had family and all these young German kids there that kind of look up to me. So as I said long ago, I really hope to raise the profile of German golf. And I’m really looking forward to that first tee box feeling.”
Masson, who earned her way on the team via a captain’s pick, actually says the pressure on her is relieved now that she’s actually here. See, the pressure was to get here, but now that she’s here, she’s just enjoying the ride of playing at home in a competition this special.
“It’s still a little unreal, to be honest,” Masson said. “Yesterday, I was still trying to convince myself that we’re here for the Solheim Cup. It’s just unbelievable. And obviously having a chance to play at home, it’s just really cool and I’m just really excited for a good week. I just try to enjoy every moment and soak in every moment and all the experience that I can make and just really have a good time.”
It would be hard not to. She’s played this course – St. Leon-Rot Golf Club – numerous times before and the crowd is littered with family and friends. 5,000 fellow cheering Germans in the seats surrounding the first tee won’t hurt her mojo either.
“It’s just super positive. It’s a lot of energy,” Masson said. “I think that’s going to come from the spectators, playing in front of family and friends, seeing people that I’ve played golf with maybe ten years ago and haven’t seen them since. So it’s a lot of positive things for me. I’m just trying to enjoy every moment. There’s no pressure, really. It’s just really excitement. I’m just ready to play in front of my home crowd.”