Preparedness is a core tenet of U.S. Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis’s philosophy heading into Finca Cortesin this year, emphasizing that there should be no surprises for her 12 American players from when they first step foot in Spain through the end of the competition. The priority ties back to Lewis’s first taste of the Solheim Cup in 2011 when she went 1-3-0 in Ireland.

“I was a fish out of water,” Lewis said. “I went in there as one of the top Americans, and I had no idea what to expect and probably wasn’t as prepared as I should have been for what was coming.”

The 15-13 U.S. loss in Lewis’s rookie start continued a notable Solheim Cup trend where the more experienced team won more often. Dating back to 2011, the roster with the most past Solheim appearances has gone 5-1, with Europe’s six-rookie squad in 2013 the only team to win without the experience edge. That’s a higher winning percentage than playing on home soil, which surprisingly is 3-3 since 2011. Experience correlating to winning is a consistent theme, as the roster with that advantage is 8-4 since 2000.

This year Europe’s 31 past combined Solheim Cup appearances is more than double the U.S. (15), the third consecutive year the Europeans hold the advantage. Lewis’ goal of properly preparing her five rookies could prove the difference between the U.S. winning or witnessing the first-ever European three-peat.

“You really just need to have the first one under your belt and then just hope you don’t collapse from it because, I mean, Solheim can make or break people,” two-time Cup veteran Madelene Sagstrom said.

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