ENGLAND, Tuesday 18th May 2010 – Ladies European Tour members Annika Sorenstam and Joanne Morley have been selected as vice-captains for The 2011 European Solheim Cup Team by Captain Alison Nicholas.
Sorenstam, the event’s all time leading points scorer with 24, played in eight straight Solheim Cup competitions from 1994-2007. The former world number one won 89 tournaments around the globe before stepping away from competitive play at the end of 2008 to focus on business interests and start a family.
Morley, who was a vice-captain to Nicholas at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, in 2009, competed in The 1996 Solheim Cup and is a two-time Ladies European Tour winner.
“I am thrilled, humbled and honoured that Joanne and Annika have accepted my invitation to be my vice-captains for The 2011 Solheim Cup matches at Killeen Castle in Ireland,” said Nicholas. “I am looking forward to working with them both over the next 15 to 16 months. Their combined Solheim Cup experience will be invaluable. Joanne’s expertise working behind the scenes in two previous Solheim Cups and Annika’s wealth of experience as the most successful female golfer of all time provides a strong, inspirational, passionate and unified team which will guide the European players to success in bringing The Cup back to Europe.
“Joanne is a great character with a gift of encouragement to whomever she is with and gives her all in whatever she does. Annika is a born winner who thrives under pressure with a cool efficiency and passionate desire to win in whatever she undertakes. I am adopting the same strategy as last time in terms of having a vice-captain on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Sorenstam, a winner of 10 major championships, holds a number of records in Solheim Cup competition. In addition to earning the most points (24), she has won the most matches with 22 and scored the most points in foursomes with 11.5. She has also competed in 15 of the 19 foursomes matches played, tying for the most foursomes matches played with Laura Davies.
“I was a little quiet on the phone when Alison asked me because I was totally surprised,” said Sorenstam. “She asked me and I said, “Could you give me 24 hours?” I knew my answer would be yes but I wanted to make sure I could live up to her expectations with my schedule and fulfil my role properly. I called her back and said: yes. Some of the highlights of my career as a professional have been at The Solheim Cup. That helped with my answer, but I would love to be a part of it. Now I can participate and help to bring the trophy back.
“I’m looking forward to being with the players again, not inside the ropes, but closer. I can help from past experience: the way I approached it, give a different perspective and provide an extra hand when needed. I can help with strategy with regards to course set-up, administrative roles and anything Alison needs help with. I’m just going to follow my orders!”
Morley commented: “I am humbled at Alison's confidence in me to help bring home The Cup and grateful for this opportunity. I am looking forward to once again learning and growing under Alison's captaincy. The thing that struck me about Alison is that she left no stone unturned in her quest to bring The Cup back. Alison is not just a great golfer, she is also a fantastic business person with good communication skills I could not think of a better person more suited to lead Team Europe in 2011.”
Alexandra Armas, Executive Director of the Ladies European Tour, commented: “We are delighted that Alison has been able to build such a strong team for the 2011 matches at Killeen Castle and we are confident that, in Annika and Joanne, she has selected the best possible vice-captains to help achieve an historic home victory when the competition is played for the first time in Ireland.”
John A. Solheim, Chairman and CEO of PING, said: “The Solheim family is very pleased to have Annika Sorenstam and Joanne Morley named as vice-captains to assist Alison Nicholas. The Solheim Cup experience of both Annika and Joanne will add tremendously to the European team. Having World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika involved will generate a special excitement all its own.”
The 2011 Solheim Cup will be the 12th staging of the biennial, transatlantic team match play tournament, which features the best 12 European players from the Ladies European Tour and the best 12 US born players from the LPGA. The US leads the series 8-3, having won by a score of 16-12 at The 2009 Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The Europeans last won the event at Barsebäck in Sweden in 2003, when Nicholas was a vice-captain to Catrin Nilsmark and Sorenstam played a pivotal on-course role.
Highlights of Annika Sorenstam’s Career/Solheim Cup Career:
Rookie Year: 1993
Wins (last): 89 (2008)
Career low round: 59
Solheim Cups: ’94, ’96, ’98, ’00, ’02, ’03, ’05, ’07.
Overall singles record – 4-3-1
Overall foursomes record – 11-3-1
Overall four-ball record – 7-5-2
Overall doubles record – 18-8-3
Overall record – 22-11-4
Total points scored – 24
Highlights of Joanne Morley’s Career/Solheim Cup Career:
Rookie Year: 1994
Wins (last): 2 (2000)
Career low round: 64
Solheim Cups: ’96, ’09 Assistant Captain
Overall singles record – 0-1-0
Overall foursomes record – Did Not Play
Overall four-ball record – 0-1-0
Overall doubles record – 0-1-0
Overall record – 0-3-0
Total points scored – 0
About The Solheim Cup:
The Solheim Cup is named in honour of Karsten Solheim, and his family, the makers of PING golf equipment. The Solheim Cup is the most prestigious international team event in women’s professional golf. It is a biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition featuring the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA and the best European-born players representing the Ladies European Tour (LET). The U.S. Team leads the competition, 8-3. The 2011 Solheim Cup will be played at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland, Sept. 23-25. The 2013 Solheim Cup will be contested at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado. In addition to founding sponsor PING, Global Partners of The Solheim Cup include AIB Group and Rolex. For tickets and information, log on to www.SolheimCup.com.
About the Ladies European Tour (LET):
The Ladies European Tour (LET) is Europe’s leading women’s professional golf tour and formed as the WPGA in 1978, before taking its current title in 2000. Over the last 32 years, the tour has developed into a truly international organisation. In 2010, the schedule features 26 tournaments in 21 different countries, with 313 members who represent 35 different nations. The LET offices are located at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England. Follow the LET online at www.ladieseuropeantour.com or on Twitter @LETgolf.
During her 15-year Hall of Fame career, Annika rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards and changed the way women’s golf was played, viewed, and covered. She amassed 89 worldwide professional victories, including 72 LPGA wins, ten of which are Major Championships. Annika stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, including the ANNIKA Academy, ANNIKA Financial Group, ANNIKA Course Design, the ANNIKA Collection of apparel with Cutter & Buck, signature high-end wines with Wente Vineyards and an online retail shop, shopannika.com. In 2007, Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. In 2008, Annika joined Arnold Palmer as only the second Ambassador of the United States Golf Association, and in 2009, along with Jack Nicklaus, she was named a Global Ambassador by the International Golf Federation and aided in the successful bid for golf in the 2016 Olympic Games. More information can be found at www.annikasorenstam.com.
photos Janos Schmidt