(Springfield, Illinois, September 1 2002) – Seven Solheim Cup veterans and five Solheim rookies comprise the 12-person US Solheim Cup Team, which was announced by U.S. Captain Patty Sheehan. The 2002 Solheim Cup, Sept. 20-22, at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota features the 12 best US-born players from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the 12 best European-born players from the Evian Ladies European Tour.
Based on the top-10 rankings in the US Solheim Cup points standings at conclusion of the State Farm Classic, the 10 players who automatically qualified for the U.S. squad, listed in alphabetical order, are: Beth Daniel Laura Diaz Juli Inkster Rosie Jones Cristie Kerr Emilee Klein Kelli Kuehne Meg Mallon Michele Redman Wendy Ward Captain’s Picks Pat Hurst Kelly Robbins
“I am so excited to captain this 2002 U.S. Solheim Cup Team,” said Sheehan, reflecting on her announcement.
“It’s been an interesting and very fun two seasons for me to step back from my own competitive career and watch the games of so many talented players, learning their strengths and watching the points race come right down to the last event.
“Of course there has been some great jockeying for position — between some veteran players as well as newcomers to the team. To have LPGA Tour Hall of Famer Juli Inkster lead the US points standings just ahead of Laura Diaz, a first-time Solheim Cupper, demonstrates the talent, strength, depth and experience of this year’s squad.
“The very close race was very tough on me as I was nervous for all of the players-they were working so hard to play their way onto the team. I am so proud of all of them and so excited for our quest to win back The Solheim Cup.”
After making her captain’s picks, Sheehan commented that those were some of the easiest and toughest decisions to make.
“It is always difficult to have to tell someone they didn’t make it,” added Sheehan, “But it also is wonderful to be able to tell the two picks that they are on the team.”
“I am elated and relieved,” said Pat Hurst, a member of the 1998 and 2000 US Solheim Cup teams, upon hearing she was one of Sheehan’s picks.
“It’s a goal to achieve making the team, and right now I don’t care how I made it. Being a captain’s pick is the second best thing. I was having a meltdown in the locker room, and Patty came in and assured me that everything was going to be okay. So, then I assured her that I would not let her down.”
The 2002 US team will include five rookies to the event: Laura Diaz, Cristie Kerr, Wendy Ward, Emilee Klein, and Kelli Kuehne.
“It really feels good,” commented Klein, who finished tied for fourth at the State Farm Classic, moving her into ninth place in the Solheim Cup points race.
“I’ve worked very hard this week and this just proves that hard work does pay off.”
“I think we have a tremendous team,” said Kerr, “and I can’t think of a better captain to play for. I am so excited ”
The quest to make the 2002 team began at the 1999 New Albany Golf Classic in New Albany, Ohio, and ended at the State Farm Classic in Springfield, Illinois.
Qualifying points for the US Team were awarded weekly to the top-10 finishers and ties at official LPGA tournaments. Points are doubled at the four major championships every year.
2002 U.S. Solheim Cup Team final standings
Captain: Patty Sheehan, Assistant captain: Jane Geddes 1. Juli Inkster (221.63) 2. Laura Diaz (215.90) 3. Rosie Jones (155.50) 4. Michele Redman (131.87) 5. Cristie Kerr (114.79) 6. Meg Mallon (96.58) 7. Beth Daniel (93.65) 8. Wendy Ward (81.50) 9. Emilee Klein (79.78) 10. Kelli Kuehne (78.25)
Captain’s picks 11. Kelly Robbins 12. Pat Hurst