PHOENIX – One of the most recognizable competitors in U.S. Solheim Cup history will now have the chance to bring home the Solheim Cup in a new role.
Nine-time U.S. Team member Juli Inkster will serve as the captain for the 2015 U.S. Solheim Cup Team.
Inkster now works to lead the U.S. to victory at Golf Course St. Leon-Rot in Germany on Sept. 18-20, 2015. The United States has not held the Cup since winning on U.S. soil in 2009 at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago, Ill.
The press conference to announce Inkster as captain took place on Tuesday night during the pro-am party for the JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix, the first domestic event on the LPGA Tour’s 2014 schedule. The room was filled with LPGA history as two of the LPGA Founders, Hall of Famers, and legends of the game such as Kathy Whitworth, the first U.S. Solheim Cup Team captain, gathered to celebrate Inkster.
“I’m so honored to be selected as the 2015 U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain,” said Inkster. “I have been very fortunate to play for a lot of great captains. Each one had their own uniqueness but all had one common goal of representing USA and the Cup. I will do my best to uphold the honor and tradition that the previous captains have set and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to lead the U.S. Team in Germany.”
The 31-time LPGA Tour winner and seven-time major champion holds several notable Solheim Cup records including being the all-time leader in points earned by a U.S. player (18.5) and points earned in singles competition (seven).
Inkster is also the only player to be an active competitor and serve as an assistant captain during the same Solheim Cup in 2011. That year she earned the distinction of being the oldest player to compete on a Solheim Cup Team at the age of 51 years, 2 months and 30 days. Inkster boasts an impressive 15-12-7 overall record in her nine Solheim Cup appearances.
“Juli is a wonderful choice and very deserving of the opportunity to captain the 2015 United States Solheim Cup team,” said John Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “As a nine-time participant in the event, she has played an integral part in helping grow the Solheim Cup into the premier women’s team event in the world. Juli’s passion and joy for the game defines what the Solheim Cup is all about. She plays with a high level of skill and intensity while always demonstrating her clear love and respect for the game. I am sure she’ll employ a similar approach to her captaincy as she leads the top 12 U.S. players to the Solheim Cup in Germany next summer.”
“Over the years, the Solheim Cup has been blessed by the skill of great players and the passion and leadership of their captains,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “Juli Inkster possesses all of these things and Team USA is so fortunate to have her at the helm as it tries to regain the Cup. She is an ambassador for the game and has a rich history taking part in this competition. Win or not, she will make the Solheim Cup even better by her participation.”
Inkster didn’t waste any time in naming one of her assistant captains. The LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member announced Tuesday night that she has chosen her longtime friend and former U.S. Solheim Cup teammate, Pat Hurst, to help lead the U.S. Team in Germany. Hurst, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, has competed in five Solheim Cups.
The U.S. leads Europe 8-5 all-time in Solheim Cup competition following an 18-10 loss to the Europeans in August at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado. It was the first time in Solheim Cup history that the U.S. Team suffered two straight losses in competition and was also the first loss by an American team on home soil. “Team USA is going to work hard to bring the Cup back home,” Inkster said. “The European Team has played really well these last two times and deserved to be holding the Cup. I’m sure the U.S. players are hungry for a win and we will have to play our best to do that. I have a lot of confidence that they will be ready to compete in Germany in 2015. We will look forward to the challenge.”