U.S. dominance in Curtis Cup eye-opening
06 Jun 2012
by Golfweek

see also: Curtis Cup, Quaker Ridge Golf Club

-- Golfweek
-- Golfweek

By Alistair Tait, Golfweek NAIRN, Scotland -- Welcome to the Catastrophe Cup. Well, it is if you’re a British or Irish golf fan.

“Catastrophe” is just the word to describe Great Britain & Ireland’s performance in the Curtis Cup since its inception in 1932. Put it this way, if the Curtis Cup were a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight many years ago. Probably as far back as 1985, when the United States held a 19-2-2 lead.

The United States doesn’t just lead the series – it dominates it. Of the 36 biennial contests so far, the U.S. leads 27-6 with three matches halved.


Who on the GB&I side forgot to throw in the towel?

The U.S. leads in every category you can think of. Overall the score is 325.5 – 218.5 for the Red, White and Blue. The U.S. also holds comfortable edges in every session. The U.S. even holds a commanding lead in the foursomes, a format that should suit the GB&I team. It leads that session 28- 21. The girls of the stars-and-stripes also lead the singles by a similar advantage.

Quite why the Ladies Golf Union has continued to send teams to take a hiding every two years is a reasonable question. However, the Curtis Cup is a tradition that needs to be continued out of respect for the Curtis sisters, who donated the trophy that has found a near permanent home at USGA headquarters in Far Hills, New Jersey.

Throw in hopeless optimism, too. Every two years the LGU announces a team and sends it off to the match with the usual “this team is our strongest, good enough to win” platitudes. Usually it ends up lauding teams for their bravery and team spirit, etc, etc as the girls limp home after yet another drubbing.

There was a brief spell in the late 1980s and early 1990s when it seemed as if GB&I had finally found parity. The 1986 team won at Prairie Dunes to break a run of 13 straight losses. Many thought that victory was a mere a fluke. They were wrong.

GB&I won again in 1988, 1992 and 1996, with a 9-9 tie in 1994. That’s five of six matches undefeated. Heady days indeed.

However, it’s just as well the LGU didn’t build a permanent home for the Curtis Cup at its St. Andrews headquarters after that run. That 1996 team was the last GB&I team to lift the cup.

Sixteen years later and the Catastrophe Cup has returned. We’re back to the good old – bad old if you’re of GB&I persuasion – days when the U.S. simply turns up and romps to victory.

So what do you do when the opposition has greater strength in depth? Surely you don’t agree to extend the matches to an extra day?

ABOUT THE Curtis Cup

Officially named "The Women's International Cup," the first Curtis Cup wasn't officially held until 1932. The biennial competition features the best female players from the United States of America pitted against a similar squad from Great Britain and Ireland. While it was hoped that many nations would eventually join the Match, the Curtis Cup has remained a two-sided competition.

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