The 2017 European and United States Solheim Cup Captains, Annika Sorenstam and Juli Inkster respectively, have announced their teams for the 15th edition of the biggest event in women’s golf, which tees off at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa, on Friday 18th August.
Following the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns, Annika officially named Georgia Hall, Florentyna Parker, Mel Reid, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Carlota Ciganda, Suzann Pettersen, Charley Hull, Karine Icher, Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Masson, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Madelene Sagstrom as her European team members.
Juli Inkster’s United States team will include Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller, Cristie Kerr, Danielle Kang, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, Lizette Salas, Angel Yin and Austin Ernst, as well as Paula Creamer, who replaced Jessica Korda as the first alternate after Korda relinquished her spot due to a forearm injury.
Now, after the USA’s victory in St. Leon-Rot, Germany, two years ago, Annika and her team will have their eyes set on revenge at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa. Success would mean a second away victory for the Europeans, following their first away win in Colorado in 2013, when Annika was a vice-captain. Annika is now applying her legendary planning and determination to her new mission as captain, having been vice-captain three times from 2011-2015. This time her vice-captains are Catriona Matthew, Marta Figueras-Dotti and Maria McBride (née Hjorth).
Annika started her preparations upon being named Captain at the ANA Inspiration in Spring 2016 and after visiting the Des Moines Country Club for the first time, she said: “Pete Dye is one of the known architects in the world so I know this is going to be a great test. It will be interesting to see how the US Team set up the course. I think it looks like it will set up well for a match play event with some risk-reward and a variety of holes. It was very diversified with long and short holes, dog legs left and right. It seemed like you would need all the clubs in the bag.”
Des Moines Golf and Country Club is the second Pete Dye-designed venue to host The Solheim Cup following the 2005 tournament at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana. Other Solheim Cup tournaments in the Midwest have included the 1998 event at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, the 2002 event at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota and the 2009 event at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois – all won by the US Team.
The organisers expect an historic turnout for this year’s tournament, as the U.S. Senior Open Championship drew a record 252,800 spectators when it was played at Des Moines in 1999. The atmosphere is expected to be electric as there will be seating for 7,000 fans on the first tee.
“West Des Moines is a small, Midwestern town, so I know the support will be amazing,” continued Annika. “They’ve had sport events in the past that have been received well and they love their sports, so it’s going to be an incredible atmosphere. It will certainly make a mark in Solheim Cup history.
“The atmosphere at The Solheim Cup is nothing like any other golf tournament. I welcome you to show up and get a feel for it. It won’t be your last if you do!”
The Solheim Cup has a long, rich heritage like no other event in women’s golf. The brainchild of Karsten Solheim, founder of PING, this biannual clash of the continents evokes emotion and drama from players and fans alike.
With the inaugural match played at Lake Nona in 1990, The Solheim Cup was established to showcase the talent of the world’s preeminent female golfers in a format that mirrored The Ryder Cup. Since these early days, The Solheim Cup has grown significantly in prominence and profile, establishing itself as a strong sporting brand.
Although Team USA started out strongly in the 90s, momentum shifted to the European team this millennium, before the United States competitors, under the guidance of their Captain Juli Inkster, captured the Waterford crystal trophy in Germany in 2015.
The United States players are as proud and motivated as ever under returning Captain Inkster, who will be supported by her experienced vice-captains Pat Hurst, Wendy Ward and Nancy Lopez. Inkster said: “Gallery-wise, this will probably be our biggest as far as the red, white, and blue.
“I know we’re all looking forward to getting to Des Moines. It’s great for women’s golf. It really escalates the level of women’s golf and brings it to the forefront, and all of these ladies can really play. I think you’re going to be impressed when we get to Des Moines how well the matches will go, and you know, what I hope: it keeps growing. It’s such a great event. I think Annika’s job is to make it quiet and our job is to make it loud. So I think it’s going to be great matches and I can’t believe, you know, in a week it’s going to be here. But I think we’re all ready to go.”
The Solheim Cup’s history of high sporting drama and entertainment has been described as ‘thrilling’, ‘awesome’ and ‘electrifying’ and the atmosphere is expected to be no less intense in Iowa.
History, prestige and fearsome competition: no other women’s tournament comes close. Get ready for the best Solheim Cup yet as Europe heads to the USA!
More information at solheimcupeurope.com