Two-time LPGA champion is veteran of four Solheim Cups
U.S. Solheim Cup Captain Meg Mallon announced today that two-time LPGA champion and four-time Solheim Cup participant Laura Diaz will serve as an Assistant Captain when the U.S. takes on Europe at the 13th staging of the event at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., Aug. 13-18.
Diaz, an LPGA Tour member since 1999, joins Dottie Pepper as an assistant captain. Today’s announcement was moderated by LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann in the media center at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup – the first event of the LPGA’s 2013 North American schedule – with Mallon and Pepper in attendance. Solheim Cup points are available to all U.S.-born LPGA players who earn top-20 finishes in Phoenix and all other LPGA events, with points being doubled at the major championships.
“I’m thrilled to have Laura Diaz join Dottie and me as captains of the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team,” Mallon said. “Laura brings great enthusiasm and experience to the team. She will be my eyes and ears on the LPGA Tour this season while she plays alongside potential U.S. Team members.”
Diaz (pictured at the 2005 Solheim Cup) was elated by the honor. “It is the biggest honor of my career thus far, partially because of what the job entails, but more so because a former teammate of mine had the freedom to choose anyone she wanted, and she chose me,” Diaz said. “The respect that I have for Meg as a player and a person is the reason I feel so honored.”
Diaz is a four-time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007), enjoying three team victories while amassing a 6-6-1 record and earning 6½ points for Team USA. Both of her victories – the Welch’s/Circle K Championship and the LPGA Corning Classic – came in 2002, and Diaz has notched 57 top-10 finishes while earning more than $5 million during her impressive career.
Diaz plans to play a full 2013 schedule and hopes to qualify for the U.S. Team, a reality that would be just fine with Mallon.
“Laura has also proven that she still has game and is capable of having a big year on Tour this season,” Mallon said. “If the opportunity arises, I believe she could handle being a playing assistant.”
Diaz is looking forward to a big year in 2013.
“I’m hoping to have a blowout year and be a participant on the team,” she said. “I have the drive to continue participating in the Solheim Cup as a player.”
Before turning professional in 1997, Diaz was a member of the Wake Forest University golf team, where she was the 1995 Atlantic Coast Conference champion, a First-Team All-American from 1996-97 and the 1997 Female Athlete of the Year. Diaz also won the 1995 North-South Amateur Championship, 1996 Eastern Championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1996 U.S.Women’s Amateur Championship during her amateur days.
“One of the main things I can bring to this year’s team as Assistant Captain is my experience on three victorious U.S. Teams and one that was nearly victorious,” Diaz said. “Also, I know all the players very well, and I’m out there competing against them on a regular basis. I can be Meg’s eyes and ears and really know what’s going on. Because the girls know me and see me between the ropes, I hope they feel comfortable communicating with me on a weekly basis.”
Diaz joins Debbie Massey (2000), Jane Geddes (2002, 2003), Donna Caponi (2005), Beth Daniel (2007), Mallon (2009), Kelly Robbins (2009), Sherri Steinhauer (2011), Juli Inkster (2011 – playing assistant) and Pepper (2013) as the 10th different assistant captain in U.S. Team history.
Diaz is one of six LPGA Player Directors on the LPGA Board of Directors, serving as Vice President. She and her husband, Kevin, have two children, Cooper and Lily.
ABOUT THE SOLHEIM CUPThe Solheim Cup combines the tradition and prestige of the game of golf with passion for one’s country. This biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition features the best U.S.-born players from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour and the best European members from the Ladies European Tour (LET). The Solheim Cup is named in honor of Karsten Solheim, the founder of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, which makes PING golf equipment. In 1990, the Solheim family, in conjunction with the LPGA and the LET, developed the concept and became the title sponsor for the Solheim Cup, professional golf’s international match-play competition for women. 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 U.S. and European teams are highly sought-after by players from both organizations. The 2013 Solheim Cup will take place Aug. 13-18 at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. The European Team enters the competition holding the Cup and will need 14 points to retain it, with the U.S. Team needing 14½ points to regain the coveted Waterford Crystal prize. The U.S. squad holds an 8-4 lead in the series, which began in 1990, and is undefeated (6-0) on U.S. soil. Meg Mallon is captain of the U.S. Team, with Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann leading the European squad.For more information about the Solheim Cup and updated standings for each team, log on to www.solheimcup.com, www.lpga.com and www.solheimcupeurope.com.