Europe and America prepare for Solheim Cup showdown

    American Solheim Cup team member Michelle Wie is introduced to the media ahead of this weekend's showdown

    Story highlights

    • Europe and the United States begin the 12th edition of golf's Solheim Cup on Friday
    • The American women are aiming to win the title for a fourth successive time this weekend
    • The action starts at the Killeen Castle Resort in Ireland with the opening fourballs
    The United States are aiming to win the Solheim Cup for a fourth successive occasion when they face Europe in the 12th edition of the women's team golf tournament, which begins at the Killeen Castle Golf Resort in Ireland on Friday.
    The competition, an exact replica of the men's Ryder Cup, begins on Friday morning with four foursomes, where the players alternate playing the same ball, before the afternoon's four fourballs -- which sees each player playing their own ball.
    Saturday's two sessions then follow exactly the same format, before Sunday's 12 individual singles, which will determine the winners.
    With a total of 28 points up for grabs, the winning team is the first to reach 14 1/2 points, with the Americans securing 16-12 triumphs in Illinois in 2009 and Sweden in 2007.
    Alison Nicholas, who is captaining Europe for a second time following their 2009 defeat, has paired Maria Hjorth and Anna Nordqvist in the opening foursomes match -- with the Swedish duo lining up against Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr.
    The English duo of Karen Stupples and Melissa Reid face Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome in the second of the foursomes, while the third sees veteran Scot Catriona Matthew and Spanish rookie Azahara Munoz against Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford.
    And Friday's morning session is completed by Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Sweden's Sophie Gustafson facing Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster -- who becomes the oldest-ever Solheim Cup player at the age of 51.
    The United States lead Europe 8-3 overall and both Nicholas and her American counterpart Rosie Jones are aware of the need to get a good start in the competition.
    Nicholas told the official Solheim Cup website: "I think I have a good blend in my team and I am very happy with the way the draw has worked out.
    "Catriona, for instance, is a great leader and gets on so well with everyone. She has lots of experience and I think she will make a great pairing with Azahara. They are both steady players."
    The United States come into the match as favorites to retain their title, with four of the world's top 10 amongst their ranks.
    "I've put Michelle and Cristie out first because they are both good leaders," Jones told the official website.
    "They have played a lot together and had success. I want them to get out there and put up a point."
    She continued: "I've got heavy hitters in every match. I have a master plan and I'm going to stick to it as much as possible. But you have to wait and see how the matches go and maybe adjust."
    European team: (number of previous Solheim Cup appearances in brackets)
    Melissa Reid (Eng) (-)
    Laura Davies (Eng) (11)
    Karen Stupples (Eng) (1)
    Suzann Pettersen (Nor) (5)
    Sophie Gustafson (Swe) (7)
    Maria Hjorth (Swe) (4)
    Anna Nordqvist (Swe) (1)
    Caroline Hedwall (Swe) (-)
    Catriona Matthew (Sco) (4)
    Azahara Munoz (Sp) (-)
    Sandra Gal (Ger) (-)
    Christel Boeljon (Net) (-)
    United States team:

    Michelle Wie (1)
    Julie Inkster (8)
    Cristie Kerr (5)
    Paula Creamer (3)
    Angela Stanford (3)
    Brittany Lang (1)
    Brittany Lincicome (2)
    Morgan Pressel (2)
    Christina Kim (2)
    Vicky Hurst (-)
    Ryann O'Toole (-)
    Stacy Lewis (-)