USA Players Back Lewis As Captain Ditches Pod System For Solheim Cup

Stacy Lewis will not use the famed pod system during the Solheim Cup, and her players say it'll help make them a stronger group

Ally Ewing, Lexi Thompson and Danielle Kang at the Solheim Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Team USA players are backing Stacy Lewis after the captain ditched the pod system for the Solheim Cup to encourage a greater togetherness in the team room.

First introduced into the 2008 Ryder Cup by Paul Azinger, the system placed players into smaller groups to suit both style of play and personalities in order to make pairings easier during the week.

Solheim Cup captains have been using the pod system but Lewis has ditched the concept in favour of trying to make the team one big group again.

Ally Ewing has backed the approach and thinks it will create a stronger team bond at Finca Cortesin in Spain during the match against Europe.

"I think it's a new approach. It's a great approach," said Ewing. "I think, if anything, it's going to bring us together. 

"It doesn't really cluster us or categorize us to certain people that we're around, for the most part, so I think we're going to see even more strength in the team room as an aspect of it. So I think it's going to be nothing but great for us."

With Europe winning the last two Solheim Cups, USA need to find something different to avoid losing three in a row, and Lewis believes this is it.

And as she's also captain for next year's quick return Solheim Cup back in America, many of the same players will likely be used - so having a bond between the entire squad would be beneficial. 

Lexi Thompson is playing in her sixth Solheim Cup, a decade after making her debut as a teenager, and she agrees that Lewis is making the right decision.

"Yeah, I agree. Not that the pod system was a bad thing by any means, but I think Stacy has a great strategy in mind and just all keeping us together and not really breaking us apart," said Thompson.

The Solheim Cup itself GettyImages1338763921

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"We all get along very well and we know each other's games well too, so that always helps. But I definitely believe that Stacy knows what she's doing, so we're excited for the week."

Danielle Kang had the best answer when comparing a full team collective responsibility to the pod system.

"It's been pretty cool," she said. "When I'm late, I have everybody calling me instead of my pod, so we're good."

There'll also be an increased use of statistics for this Solheim Cup, even when determining who should play with who.

"It's something I guess that we haven't really done in the past," said Thompson. "I think it's a great source for us that we've been able to really look on in being able to team up our matches. 

USA Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Not that we've done that, but we kind of have a really a better idea about it. So I think it's definitely a little bit of an advantage, for sure. We're pairing up the best that we can with whoever we're paired with."

Kang says she is a player who likes to see her stats to back up her feelings of how she's playing and where she needs to improve.

"I actually really like it because when Stacy calls me and tells me that my make percentage is whatever, and then she gives me the stats," said Kang. "I love it. Just keep telling me my stats.

"So I personally like it and I can really trust numbers and factual things on that. So I've really appreciated the statistics coming in."

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.