Why The US Solheim Cup Team Has A Duck On The Bottom Of Its Bags

A yellow duck on the base of the team’s bags is just one of several design elements offering a nod to history

Nelly Korda with her caddie in a practice round prior to the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin
A yellow duck is on the base of the Team USA Solheim Cup bags
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When the action begins in the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin, you may notice some subtle additions to Team USA’s gear, including a yellow duck on the base of its bags – but what is their significance?

They’re all down to Team USA captain Stacy Lewis’s determination to ensure the current crop of players feels a connection to US Solheim Cup teams of the past.

One of the most intriguing is a yellow duck on the base of each player’s bag, which concerns one of the founders of the LPGA, Shirley Spork, who died in April 2022 aged 94.

Despite never having played in the Solheim Cup, Spork was an enthusiastic fan of the biennial match and was a regular attendee. She also loved ducks, and often looked for them when she played to help her relax in the pressure of competition.

In an interview with LPGA.com, Lewis explained more, saying: “If you look on the bottom of the golf bags, there's a little rubber ducky on there, and that is for Shirley Spork.

“Anybody that had watched the Solheim Cup in the last probably five or six, you've seen Shirley on the first tee with her giant hat. This was her favorite event, and she passed away between [the 2021 Solheim Cup] and now and so wanted to just find a way to honor her.”

The duck is not the only detail on the bags that hints at the past. Each bag has two pockets by the ball pockets. One is adorned with 62 stars and the other 13 stripes.

The 62 stars represent the number of players who had played for Team USA before the 2023 match - a number that will increase this week thanks to its five Solheim Cup rookies. As for the stripes, each represents one of the 13 Team USA Solheim Cup captains.

A pocket of a Team US bag with 13 stripes

There are 13 stripes on one of the pockets to represent the 13 Team USA captains

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s not just the bags that have subtle nods to the team’s Solheim Cup history, either. The team’s caps will each feature the number 88. That’s to honor Kathy Whitworth, who led the team in the first two matches, in 1990 and 1992, and had a record 88 LPGA Tour victories in her career. The front of the headwear also features a logo with 10 stars to represent the USA’s 10 Solheim Cup victories.

Allisen Corpuz wearing a Team USA cap before the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin

The cap features a logo with 10 stars to represent the 10 times the US has won the match

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With Europe having home advantage and an impressive recent record in the match, many think Lewis’ team will have it all to do to prevent Suzann Pettersen’s team claiming the trophy for a third successive time.

However, the attention to detail incorporated into the US team’s gear suggests that Lewis’s preparation for the contest has been nothing if not meticulous. Now she will hope those subtle reminders of the team’s Solheim Cup history will help inspire her players to victory for the first time since 2017 in Iowa.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.