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Solheim Cup moves forward to 2003

The Solheim Cup will move forward a year to 2003 to avoid a conflict with golf's other major biennial team event -- the Ryder Cup.

The women's match-play showdown between the best Americans and the top Europeans was originally set for 2004. It will now be played Sept. 12-14, 2003, at the same venue -- Barseback Golf and Country Club near Malmo, Sweden.

The decision was inevitable when last year's Ryder Cup was postponed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and reset for even-numbered years. The next Ryder Cup will be Sept. 27-29 at The Belfry near Birmingham, England.

This year's Solheim Cup, the last in even-numbered years, will go ahead as scheduled on Sept. 20-22 in Edina, Minn.

The Ryder Cup traditionally had been played in odd-numbered years with the Solheim in even-numbered years. The two have now switched places.

``The Solheim Cup is one of the premier golfing events in the world and given the huge public, television and commercial interest it now generates, it is appropriate that the match is not played in the same month as the Ryder Cup,'' said Richard Relton, European director for the Solheim Cup.

He said the switch to odd years also will allow the tournament to avoid a conflict with the Olympics and soccer's 2004 European championships.

The Europeans won the last Solheim Cup, defeating the Americans in 2000 at Loch Lomond, Scotland. The Americans have won the Solheim Cup four of six times.

Ty Votaw, commissioner of the LPGA Tour, said the back-to-back events could be problematic.

``Although having the event two consecutive years may give all of us some challenges, I am confident this is going to be an asset to the event in the future,'' Votaw said.

The American LPGA players began earning 2002 Solheim Cup points at the 2000 New Albany Golf Classic. The 2002 U.S. Solheim Cup team will be announced Sept. 1. Points for the 2003 U.S. Solheim Cup team began accumulating at the 2002 LPGA Takefuji Classic and will run through the late summer of 2003.

European players competing on the Europe-based Evian Tour also have two sets for rankings for the 2002 and 2003 events.


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