Carin Koch names Sophie Gustafson and Maria McBride as Solheim Cup Vice Captains

Sophie Gustafson joins Annika Sörenstam as Vice Captains for 2015 Solheim Cup
Sophie Gustafson joins Annika Sörenstam & Maria McBride as Vice Captains for 2015 Solheim Cup

The 2015 European Solheim Cup Team Captain Carin Koch has announced that Sophie Gustafson and Maria McBride (formerly Hjorth) will join Annika Sörenstam as her Vice Captains when Europe targets victory over the United States at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in Germany on 18-20 September.

Between them, Gustafson, McBride and Sörenstam have played in 21 Solheim Cups, with no fewer than six wins and 122 tournament titles to their credit.

“I am extremely proud to have assembled one of the most experienced and accomplished back room teams imaginable,” said Koch, who served as a Vice Captain to Liselotte Neumann in 2013.

Sophie Gustafson, an eight-time Solheim Cup participant (1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011), was a member of three winning European teams in 2000, 2003 and 2011. She has earned 16 points for Team Europe, with an all-time record of 13-12-6, most recently posting four points from as many matches in 2011 at Killeen Castle in Ireland. A Life Member of the Ladies European Tour, Gustafson has been the LET’s order of merit winner four times and earned 26 international career titles.

“It’s a great honour to be named Vice Captain,” said Gustafson, a key helper at The 2013 Solheim Cup in Colorado, where Team Europe secured an historic first away victory. “The Solheim Cup to me is pure passion. You play with guts for glory and one way or another I was always going to be in St. Leon-Rot in September, even if it was just to fetch coffee for Carin. As a helper in Colorado last time around I feel I did some good and getting to step up from there to Vice Captain is going to be great fun.”

Maria McBride is a five-time European Solheim Cup Team participant (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011) who also played on the victorious team in Ireland. With a 6-10-5 record, she has earned 8 ½ points for Team Europe, as well as seven career titles on the LPGA and Ladies European Tours combined. She is wife to golf coach Shaun McBride and mother to six year old daughter, Emily.

McBride said:

“I am very honoured and proud to be named a Vice Captain for The 2015 Solheim Cup team. I have been involved in five teams, all playing of course, but to have a chance to help Europe inside the ropes in a different way is wonderful. I am very excited about the job and can’t wait for September to come. I hope that I can bring experience, guidance, friendship and laughter.”

Carin Koch said:

“I am delighted that Sophie accepted to be one of my Vice Captains, she has shown such strength over the years in Solheim, her record and contribution speaks for itself. Mimmi has played a hugely important role in recent Solheims. It’s great with her being based in the U.S. as I have another set of eyes that can follow the European players based over there. She had a fantastic top five finish the other week in Texas.

“With my back room team complete and less than four months to go until the 14th staging of the event in Germany, we will now step up preparations to secure a win at Golf Club St Leon-Rot.”

The Solheim Cup

The 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 honour 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 European and U.S. teams are highly sought-after by players from both organisations.

The 2015 Solheim Cup will take place Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club near Heidelberg, Germany. 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 8-5 lead in the series, which began in 1990, and is coming off back-to-back losses (2011, 2013) for the first time in history. Juli Inkster is captain of the U.S. Team, with Sweden’s Carin Koch leading the European squad.

For more information about the Solheim Cup and updated standings for each team, visit www.solheimcup.com.

Solheim Cup Nights with Captain Alison Nicholas

Solheim Cup Nights with Captain Alison Nicholas
Solheim Cup Nights with Captain Alison Nicholas

One of the UK’s most successful golfers and Europe’s 2011 Solheim Cup captain, Alison Nicholas will be sharing her thoughts ahead of September’s eagerly anticipated showdown. Edgbaston Golf Club, Birmingham and Fulford Golf Club, York will be the venues for an exclusive Solheim Cup evening on June 1st and June 2nd respectively.

Alison Nicholas’s career in golf has spanned from 1980 to 2004, starting off late at the age of 17 but quickly went on to represent Yorkshire at county level and turned pro in 1984. Since then she has claimed 18 professional titles and represented Europe in the inaugural Solheim Cup in 1990. The highlight of Alison’s career came in 1997 when she was crowned US Open Champion and held off golfing legend Nancy Lopez to win her first major.

Nicholas will be leading the best European players from the Ladies European Tour (LET) against the best U.S. players from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour in the biennial, trans-atlantic team match-play competition. The U.S. Team leads the competition 8-3 and has never lost The Solheim Cup on home soil. In 2009, the Americans kept their untarnished home record intact at Rich Harvest Farms with a 16 to 12 victory against the Europeans. It’s now Europe’s turn to win back the trophy in Ireland at Killeen Castle on September 23-25.

Alison Nicholas, who has been awarded a MBE for her services to women’s golf is looking forward to her trip to Birmingham and York ahead of the September competition. She said “I really enjoy meeting other golfers and telling stories from on and off the course. It will be great to be in Birmingham and York to share my own Solheim Cup Stories as excitement builds towards the tournament.”

Event Organisers Tourism Ireland said “To have Alison at Edgbaston and Fulford Golf Club will be great inspiration for the local golfing community. We can’t wait to meet her and support the team in September for the Solheim Cup.”

Guests at the evenings will have the chance to win a trip to Ireland and attend the Solheim Cup at the beautiful Killeen Castle. Information will also be available on event tickets and Solheim Cup packages.

Event Details:
Wednesday, June 1, at Edgbaston Golf Club, Birmingham
Thursday, June 2, at Fulford Golf Club, York
Both evenings start at 7.30pm and include a complimentary drink and canapés

To register email news@englishwomensgolf.org confirming which evening you wish to attend (Edgbaston Golf Club or Fulford Golf Club), your name, golf club and contact phone number. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

US retain the Solheim Cup

150px-2005_solheim_cupThe USA dominated the singles on day three, to retain the Solheim Cup in emphatic fashion at the Rich Harvest Farm event.

European captain Alison Nicholas had seen her team put in a fantastic performance in the pairs event, but then watched her side comprehensively beaten by the US hosts going down 8-4 on the day and 16- 12 overall.

The European team struggled after losing the first three matches on the trot, Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford and rookie superstar Michelle Wie getting the best of Suzann Pettersen, Becky Brewerton and Helen Alfredsson in their respective fixtures.

It was left to veteran 45 year old Laura Davies to get Europe’s first points on the scoreboard having  halved her match with Brittany Lang. Gwladys Nocera with half against Juli Inkster and Catriona Matthew with a 3&2 win over Kristy McPherson helped to keep the match alive.

Brittany Lincicome and Christina Kim added two more wins for the USA, with Sophie Gustafson and Tania Elosegui on the losing side for the visitors, before Morgan Pressel scored the decisive point for the USA on the 16th green after Anna Nordqvist missed an eight foot putt in the eleventh match.

Diana Luna then beat Nicole Castrale with a 3&2 and Janice Moodie and Natalie Gulbis halved their match to bring the tournament to an end and victory to the United States for the third consecutive time.

European captain Alison Nicholas said after the tournament;

“The girls have played well, it was good fun, but it’s still disappointing. The girls tried to keep up with them but they just holed a few more putts than us. It’s tough to come over here and win, and to be honest with you, we were huge underdogs to start the week.”