Solheim Cup format: How it works, points

Nelly Korda and Angel Yin run down the fairway during a practice round at the 2023 Solheim Cup.

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The Solheim Cup is one of the most exciting events in women’s sport and the 18th edition of the biennial event takes place this week at Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Spain.

Unlike a typical women’s professional golf tournament, the Solheim Cup is played in a series of games over a three-day period. You can learn more about the Solheim Cup format and standings below.

Solheim Cup format

The Solheim Cup is a biennial competition between players from the United States and continental Europe. Each team consists of 12 players.

A total of 28 games will be played over three days. Every game is worth one point. Eight team games will be played on the first and second days of the Solheim Cup, four in the morning and four in the afternoon, and twelve individual games will be played on the third and final day of the competition.

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Foursomes – also called Alternate Shot – is the first team format to be played at the 2023 Solheim Cup. Only eight of the twelve players from each team take part. In foursomes, one player tees off and that player’s partner hits the next shot. The two take turns hitting the same ball until the ball is holed. The players also take turns deciding who tees off on each hole. The lowest score between each pair wins that hole.


The second Solheim Cup team format is four-ball, also called better-ball. Four-ball is played in the afternoon session, after the morning four-a-side session on days 1 and 2. In four-ball, only eight of the twelve players from each team take part. But in this format, each player plays his own ball. The pair’s lowest score on each hole counts for the team, and the lowest score between opposing pairs wins the hole.


All 12 players from each team take part in individual games. Individual games are the grand finale of the Solheim Cup. Even if the outcome of the Solheim Cup is already determined before all twelve games have been completed, the players will still be left for posterity.

Rating of the Solheim Cup

Unlike a regular LPGA event where stroke play (where every stroke counts) is the predominant format, the Solheim Cup features match play.

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In match play, each hole has a potential value of one. If you win a hole with a lower score than your opponent, you are ahead by 1. Points will not be awarded for ties nor will they be carried over to subsequent holes. It is not absolutely necessary to complete the hole by punching it out. A player’s opponent can concede shots, and if a player is hit on a hole, he can pick up his ball and move on. Regardless of a player’s score, the value of the hole in terms of score is always only one.

The game is over when a player’s advantage is greater than the number of holes remaining. For example, if a player wins the 16th hole and has 3 holes to play, the result of the game would reflect a 3&2 victory: 3 up and 2 holes left to play. Players do not continue playing once a game is over.

If a game is tied on the 18th hole, the scoring remains that way. Players do not go additional holes.

Each of the 28 Solheim Cup games is worth one point. Players or teams that win a game receive this point. In the event of a draw, the point is shared – 0.5 points each. No points are awarded for a defeat.

This year, the European team must reach 14 points to retain the Solheim Cup, while the Americans must reach 14.5 points to recapture the Solheim Cup.

The Solheim Cup starts on September 22nd in Spain. You can catch coverage starting at 2 p.m. ET on Golf Channel and Peacock.

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As a four-year member of Columbia’s premier class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can outscore anyone on the masthead with a birdie. She can also outdo them in the office, where she’s primarily responsible for producing print and online features and overseeing large special projects, such as GOLF’s first style issue, which debuted in February 2018. Her original interview series, “A “Round With,” debuted in November 2015 and appeared in both magazine and video form on Solheim Cup format: How it works, points

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