The 2017 Solheim Cup: What you need to know

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Guide to the 2017 Solheim Cup: Find out all about the players, the format, the course & how to watch all the action unfold. 

This year the Solheim Cup heads to Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa for the 15th edition of the biennial event, which has become an integral part in Women's golf since it's conception in 1990.

Juli Inkster returns to Captain the United States team for a second time, while first-time Captain Annike Sorestam leads Europe to Iowa in the hope of regaining the Solheim Cup after the match 2015 at Golf Club St. Leon Rot brought about the closest score-line in the history of the cup.

It was the American team, spurred on by controversy that nearly overshadowed the event, who came back from an 8:4 deficit to win by half a point - and they will be full of confidence they can keep their hands on the trophy this year. With a team that not only has players with considerably higher World rankings but remains virtually unchanged from the teams that played in both 2013 and 2015, it could definitely be argued that they come in as favourites this time around. 

In the history of the contest, the United States certainly has the current upper hand - (9 wins versus 5) although given that two of Europe's victories have come in the last three events, there is no doubt they will be tough to get past. After all, their last Solheim Cup win was on American soil in 2013.

So how do this year's teams match up?

[Scroll down further to find out all about the format, the course and how to watch]

Solheim Cup 2017: The Teams & Records (W-L-D)

United States

A breadth of experience in Juli Inkster's United States side give the home side a definite advantage, as the nine unchanged players from both 2013 and 2015 squads have a total of 35 individual Solheim appearances between them - 11 more than the side from Europe. 

It certainly seems on paper that individually the American team have the advantage: They have four women inside the World's top 20 including World No.2 Lexi Thompson, while Anna Nordqvist is the only player from Europe that breaks in to that ranking bracket at World No.13. 

The United States came back from 8:4 down to win the Sunday singles and Solheim Cup in 2015, featuring nine players who will also play in the 2017 side.

USA won the 2015 edition of the solheim cup

They have just two players outside the top 50, and both were picks. Austin Ernst is ranked #57, while six-time Solheim Cup player Paula Creamer is currently ranked #112. Creamer, who won the final match of the 2015 contest, missed out on the initial round of wildcard picks - but was drafted in as a late addition after Jessica Korda had to rule herself out through injury. 

Lexi Thompson: 2 Solheim appearances, 4 points (3-2-2) 
Stacy Lewis: 3 Solheim appearances, 4.5 points (4-7-1)
Gerina Piller: 2 Solheim appearances, 4 points (3-2-2) 
Cristie Kerr: 7 Solheim appearances, 17.5 points (15-14-5)
Michelle Wie: 4 Solheim appearances, 7.5 points (7-7-1)
Brittany Lang: 4 Solheim appearances, 6.5 points (5-6-3)
Brittany Lincicome: 5 Solheim appearances, 6 points (5-11-2)
Lizette Salas: 2 Solheim appearances, 2 points (1-3-2)
Danielle Kang: Rookie
Wildcard picks:

Paula Creamer: 6 Solheim appearances, 16.5 points (14-8-5)
Austin Ernst (rookie)
Angel Yin (rookie) 

Europe

Former World No.1 Annika Sorestam, a 10-time major winner and eight-time Solheim Cup player, leads team Europe this week and is joined by Vice captains Catriona Matthew, Maria McBride and Marta Figueras-Dotti. Matthew, who was the alternate for Team Europe, was recently called up to replace the injured Suzann Pettersen. 

Sorenstam's team is made up of eight experienced Ryder Cup players and four rookies - but while the experience doesn't match up to as many appearances or as high World rankings as those in the American side, they do have a very enviable record in matchplay.

The last time Europe won the Solheim Cup was in 2013, on American soil. 7 of those players are still in the team this year

Europe won the solheim cup in 2013

Caroline Masson is the only player who has lost more than she has won (2-3-2 record), but with a team combined total of 46-31-15 - there's certainly a chance the underdogs could win.

Catriona Matthew: 8 Solheim appearances, 19 points (15-10-8)
Anna Nordqvist: 4 Solheim apperances, 8.5 points (8-7-1)
Charley Hull: 2 Solheim appearances, 6 points (6-2-0)
Mel Reid: 2 Solheim appearances, 4.5 points (4-3-1)
Jodi Ewart-Shadoff: 1 Solheim appearance, 2 points (2-1-0)
Karine Icher: 3 Solheim appearances, 5.5 points (5-4-1)
Carlota Ciganda: 2 Solheim appearances, 5 points (4-1-2)
Georgia Hall: Rookie
Florentyna Parker: Rookie
Wildcard picks:
Caroline Masson:
 2 Solheim appearances, 3 points (2-3-2)
Emily Pedersen: Rookie
Madelene Sagstrom: Rookie

Solheim Cup: The format

The 2017 contest begins with an opening ceremony on Thursday evening followed by three days of team and individual match-play. For those unfamiliar with the set-up, a single point is available in each of the match-ups, with half points given when the match is all-square after 18 holes. 

For Europe to win at Des Moines they must get 14.5 points, while the USA need to just draw at 14 points a piece to retain the trophy for a second consecutive time.

Friday: 4 Morning foursome matches, 4 Afternoon fourball matches
Saturday: 4 Morning foursome matches, 4 Afternoon fourball matches
Sunday: 12 Individual matches

Solheim Cup: The Course

This year, the Solheim Cup heads to Iowa and the Des Moines Golf and Country Club - which last played host to a big tournament for the US Senior Open in 1999. 

The course will combine 9 holes from each of two the courses at Des Moines, and at its longest could be stretched out to a total of 6894 yards - which would be the second longest track in Solheim Cup history. 

Solheim Cup: How to watch

All three days will be shown live on Sky Sports Golf, with coverage getting underway from 2pm on Friday August 18, while Sky Sports News HQ will provide all the latest news, interviews, highlights and reaction from Des Moines Golf and Country Club. You can also watch from £6.99 without a contract with NOW TV.

Thursday August 17: 11pm - Solheim Cup opening ceremony - LIVE! (Sky Sports Golf)

Friday August 18: 2pm - Solheim Cup day one - LIVE! (Sky Sports Golf)

Saturday August 19: 2pm - Solheim Cup day two - LIVE! (Sky Sports Golf)

Sunday August 20: 2pm - Solheim Cup day three - LIVE! (Sky Sports Golf)