For just the third time in their combined histories — and the last time for the foreseeable future — the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup will be played in the same year, with the former teeing off Friday in Spain and the latter a week later from Italy.
However, there’s still very little cross-promotion between the two team golf competitions — something a leader in the women’s game believes is a “missed opportunity.”
“I thought this could have been marketed together as two weeks in Europe, two Cups [to play for],” said U.S. Solheim Cup team captain Stacy Lewis. “I wish that people could get the sponsorship things out of their head and let’s figure out how we can work together, because this may not ever happen again.”
Starting in 2024, the Solheim Cup will return to even-numbered years (which it last did in 2002), while the Ryder Cup will remain in odd years. Neither competition awards prize money.
The lack of marketing support for the Solheim Cup is especially striking given the positive momentum of the women’s game.
The USGA, for example, made a point to host back-to-back media days for the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens this year, which were both held in California. The organization also offered a record $11 million purse for the 2023 women’s tournament in Pebble Beach.
The tournament ultimately attracted 2.2 million peak viewers for NBC Sports and averaged 895,000 — the most-watched U.S. Women’s Open since 2014 and a 118% increase from the year prior.
“To really market it correctly, this probably had to happen two years ago. So it’s something that going forward, I think the game of golf needs to get on the same page and do better with,” Lewis said.