From left: The 2011 European Solheim Cup Captain Alison Nicholas with Graeme McDowell and Annika Sorenstam on the first tee at Killeen Castle, Ireland.
Killeen Castle, Co. Meath, Ireland 23rd September 2010: At 08.05 am on September 23rd 2010, the sun rose up over the majestic 12th century Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland.
On the first tee stood three US Open Champions surveying the peaceful and perfectly manicured Jack Nicklaus Signature course that will host The 2011 Solheim Cup in exactly one year’s time.
Annika Sorenstam, the greatest woman golfer of all time and 2011 Solheim Cup Captain Alison Nicholas arrived as part of their ongoing preparations and planning for the biannual Europe versus USA battle which takes place at Killeen Castle in exactly 12 months time. Sorenstam has agreed to be one of Nicholas’s vice captains.
Graeme McDowell just happened to be at Killeen Castle for some quiet practice before his battle with the Americans next week in Wales.
Nicholas, a feisty Yorkshire woman, is single minded in her determination to win back the trophy she lost to the Americans in Chicago in 2009. She has managed to convince Annika Sorenstam to come out of retirement to be one of her two vice captains and mastermind the course strategy at Killeen Castle for the European team.
|Joanne Morley, Alison Nicholas and Annika Sorenstam surveying the golf course.|
Speaking at Killeen Castle, Nicholas said “The knowledge, strategy and experience Annika brings to our team will be invaluable and significant in us achieving the 14 ½ points we need to win. She will not be playing next September but Annika’s influence will be crucial, she is like our secret weapon.”
Having walked the course for the first time Sorenstam was hugely impressed with the layout and strategy of Nicklaus’s design. “We were hugely disappointed to lose in Chicago last year and we are all extremely determined that that result will not happen in year’s time here at Killeen Castle. I am humbled at Alison’s confidence in me to help bring home The Solheim Cup back to Europe. I believe I can help with the strategy of the course set up and from my past experience and the way I approached it, especially with the younger players,” Sorenstam said.