Mickey Walker OBE, Captain of the European Solheim Cup from 1990 to 1996, is confirmed as Captain of the European Junior team at next year’s PING Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles 2019.
A six-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, Walker remains very active in the world of women’s golf and a familiar figure to sports fans as a regular commentator on Sky Sports. As well as her Solheim Cup captaincy, Walker also coached the GB & I Curtis Cup team on three occasions in 1994, 1996 and 1998, bringing a wealth of experience to the table for the 2019 match as Europe’s young aspiring golf stars take part in one of the biggest events in women’s sport globally.
Walker, who was awarded the OBE for her services to golf in 1993 and elected Honorary Member of the PGA in 1996 is thrilled with the appointment.
She commented, “Having been Captain for the first four editions of the Solheim Cup from 1990 and involved with the matches since then, it would be true to say that The Solheim Cup is part of my DNA. I was fortunate enough to meet and spend time with Karsten and Louse Solheim years before then when, as a player on the LPGA Tour I met Karsten in Phoenix not long after his “PING” putters were causing a stir in the golfing world.”
Walker continued, “Just as Karsten was an engineering visionary within the world of golf manufacturing, he, Louise and their family became visionaries within the game of women’s golf with their support of the players and developing the Solheim Cup. Along the way, the Solheim family’s generous and gracious manner has made everyone associated with their business, the Solheim and PING Junior Solheim Cups and with them as individuals proud to know them and grateful for their involvement in girls and women’s golf. It is a statement of fact that every European and American girl golfer aspires to make the PING Junior Solheim Cup Team as their professional counterparts do the Solheim Cup. Having something to aim for is massively important in any walk of life. I and all of my fellow female golfers will be forever grateful to Karsten, Louise and their family for their initial and ongoing involvement in golf.
I couldn’t be more proud and excited to have been asked by John Solheim to Captain the 2019 edition of the PING Junior Solheim Cup to be played at Gleneagles, which is a venue very dear to me, having first played there as a fifteen year old with a favourite golfing uncle of mine many years ago! I have no doubt that as with previous PING Junior Solheim Cups, many of the 2019 participants will go on to represent their countries at senior level and become stars of the future. Karsten, Louise and John’s vision back in the late 1980s has given the golfing world a great platform to showcase the skills and competitiveness of girls and women’s golf to a global audience. I’m already looking forward to meeting the PING Junior Solheim Cup Teams and can’t wait for September 2019!”
“It’s a tremendous honour to welcome Mickey Walker as the captain of Europe’s PING Junior Solheim Cup team,” said PING Chairman & CEO John A. Solheim. “Her connection to the Solheim Cup as a four-time captain is unmatched. I’ll never forget the passion and excitement her team demonstrated under her leadership in winning the Solheim Cup for the first time at Dalmahoy in 1992. I know she’ll draw on all her experience as a captain to bring out the best in her team at Gleneagles. She’s been a close and beloved friend of our entire family and we’re extremely grateful for her commitment to leading the next PING Junior Solheim Cup team from Europe. The girls who earn the privilege of representing Europe and playing for Mickey will come away with a greater appreciation for what the Solheim Cup means to the game of golf and enjoy an experience they’ll never forget.”
Taking place as part of the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, 9th –15th September, a dozen of Europe’s brightest young stars aged 12 to 18 years old will look to claim back the trophy won by the American team in 2017 at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in Iowa.
Europe last won when the match took place at Båstad Golf Club, Sweden in 2007 and there is no end of motivation to win back the trophy as juniors across Europe have a firm eye on earning a coveted place at Gleneagles in 2019.
Aileen Campbell, The Scottish Government’s Sports Minister said: “In the Year of Young People in Scotland I am delighted to see such a legendary figure as Mickey Walker being appointed captain of the European Ping Junior Solheim Cup team. I’m sure she will further inspire junior golfers in Scotland and beyond to raise their game in the hope of qualifying for the team at Gleneagles.”
Part of Walker’s role will be to run the rule over prospective European Ping Junior Solheim Cup team members, including a group of six young Scottish girls who have made it their mission to qualify through their self-titled #Project19 initiative. The youngsters, aged between 14-16, were further inspired when they attended The 2017 Solheim Cup in Des Moines and represented Scotland during the closing ceremony.
The Solheim Cup week will begin with the PING Junior Solheim Cup with the participants made to feel an important part of the main event. This under 18 event will be showcased as never before as Scotland seeks to ensure that this is the most family orientated and inclusive Solheim Cup ever staged. The Scottish Government has stated the ambition to ensure the 2019 edition of the Solheim Cup in Perthshire will serve to both grow golf and leave a lasting legacy of increased participation in women’s sport.
The themes of equality, innovation and experience will be thread through all aspects of the event as The 2019 Solheim Cup aims to engage both the traditional golf audience and the wider sports fan, raising the profile of women’s golf both in Scotland and internationally. The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have been long-time supporters of the women’s game having partnered with the Ricoh Women’s British Open and recently significantly enhanced the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, which took place as a co-sanctioned LET and LPGA event for the first time, last year.
The 2019 Solheim Cup will not only highlight the stunning assets of Scotland, the Home of Golf, but also build on the legacy of the successful 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It will underline that Scotland is the perfect stage for major golf events as it seeks to help inspire a new generation of children to take up the game invented in their home country.
The full criteria for the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup is outlined below with the leading six players from the PJSC ranking (based on results from the 2019 PJSC q-events) following the Girls British Open Championship 2019 automatically selected along with six Captain’s Picks based on performances at amateur events along with the EGA Ladies European Amateur Ranking.
- 12 participants.
- Participants must be 12-18 years old (born 2001 or later) and must not have reached their 18th birthday prior to January 2019.
- Participants must be amateurs and not be members of a competitive collegiate golf program.
- Participants must be a European citizen (as per IGF National Policy).
- The leading six players from the PJSC ranking (based on results from the 2019 PJSC q-events) following the Girls British Open Championship 2019 will be automatically picked. In the event of a tie for the qualification positions, the selection would have been decided based on individual standings on the EGA Ladies European Amateur Ranking.
- Six Captain’s Picks.
- All amateur events and the EGA Ladies European Amateur Ranking will be taken into consideration when deciding the Captain’s Picks.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup qualifying events and point distribution will be announced by the end of the 2018 season.
About The PING Junior Solheim Cup
The PING Junior Solheim Cup 2019 is to be played at Gleneagles, Scotland, September 10th – 11th, immediately ahead of The Solheim Cup, which is staged at the same historical Scottish golf club on September 13th – 15th.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup is a team match play competition between Europe and the United States, each team featuring the best 12 female golfers 18 years of age and younger.
The competition consist of 24 matches – six foursome matches, six fourball matches and 12 single matches.
The aim of the competition is to give juniors the opportunity to further their golfing careers by playing matchplay at a high level and also for the competitors to meet, learn and be inspired by the professional players playing in The Solheim Cup.
The 2019 event marks the tenth time the PING Junior Solheim Cup team will be contested with the US Team currently leading the series 6-2-1.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup was established by PING CEO and Chairman, John Solheim, back in 2002 and since has developed a deserved reputation for showcasing the talents of the world’s best female junior players with players like Anna Nordqvist, Carlota Ciganda, Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Paula Creamer all playing in the match before graduating to The Solheim Cup.
About the Solheim Cup:
The Solheim Cup combines the tradition and prestige of the game of golf with passion for one’s country and continent. This biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition features the best European players from the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the best U.S. players from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. The Solheim Cup is named in honour of Karsten Solheim, the founder of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, which makes PING golf equipment. In 1990, the Solheim family, in conjunction with the LET and the LPGA, developed the concept and became the title sponsor for the Solheim Cup, professional golf’s international match-play competition for women. Today, the global partners of The Solheim Cup are PING, Scotland, The Home of Golf, and Rolex. Held every two years, the event has grown into the most prestigious international women’s professional golf team event. The Solheim Cup is the most highly coveted trophy in women’s professional golf team competition; some of the most memorable moments in the sport have happened during past Solheim Cups and berths on the European and U.S. teams are highly sought-after by players from both organisations. The 2017 Solheim Cup took place on August 14-20 at Des Moines Country Club in Iowa, United States. The U.S. Team retained the coveted Waterford Crystal prize by 16 ½ to 11 ½ points. For more information log on to www.solheimcup.com.
EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org. Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.
EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.org or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see www.visitscotland.com.
About the Ladies European Tour:
The Ladies European Tour (LET) is headquartered at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club near London and celebrates women’s golf on a global stage. Since its formation 40 years ago, in 1978, the Ladies European Tour has crowned more than 250 different winners as players from 28 countries have lifted more than 730 championship trophies. The LET operates tournaments across six continents and The Solheim Cup, which has been played 15 times biannually since 1990, has become one of the biggest female sporting events in the world. The LET Access Series is the official developmental tour and bridges the gap from amateur to professional golf, giving young players the opportunity to gain valuable competitive experience and progress onto the main tour.
Located one hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh, The Gleneagles Hotel is set in an 850-acre estate, with its own railway station just minutes away. Gleneagles is synonymous with golf, and home to three championship golf courses – The PGA Centenary Course – venue for the Ryder Cup 2014 – and the stunning King’s and Queen’s Courses. But there’s even more to keep guests entertained off the course: a choice of more than twenty activities can be found in the grounds, from clay target shooting, archery and trout fishing on three lochs within the resort’s estate, to horse-riding, Segway tours and gun dog training. Throughout the hotel you will find the finest comfort – from its 232 luxury bedrooms and suites, to the calming environment of the spacious destination spa by ESPA, home to one of only two ESPA Life wellness centres in the world. Gourmands will have plenty to discover, with four on-site restaurants, including Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant Andrew Fairlie.
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