Mike Whan wants a (respectfully) rowdy environment when the U.S. and Europe battle in a women’s team golf event in Des Moines this August.
Danny Lawhon/The Register
The sights of tee boxes, greens, bunkers, water hazards, clubs, fairways and flagsticks normally provide a crystal-clear sense of place in the sports world.
Hello, golf. And a formal, stiffly polite round of short applause for you.
Feast your eyes, however, on those same sights in two months’ time at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club, and your senses may fool you.
Because if anybody chiefly involved with the biennial Solheim Cup gets the atmosphere they asked for Monday at the event’s media day, you might not recognize the event for a typical golf tournament after all.
That much, anyway, should be clear before the 6:26 a.m. sunrise come Aug. 18 — the first full day of matches in the women’s team competition pitting a 12-member United States squad against a European side captained by all-time great Annika Sorenstam.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan has felt the pre-dawn buzz. He first witnessed it at Kileen Castle in Ireland in 2011, after taking up his current post the year before. On a business breakfast, he heard roars more than two hours before the first matches that day.
He mistook the distant murmurs for sound checks. He arrived at the grandstands around the first tee box to the sounds of singing, chanting and merrymaking. By the end of the week, he was screaming in the stands with them, losing his voice in the process.
And, to think, he almost decided not to even attend.