RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- The Ladies European Tour's aggressive, though ultimately unsuccessful courtship of Annika Sorenstam to captain its Solheim Cup team in 2013 led them to the Swede who initially piqued Sorenstam's interest in golf.
The LET announced here on Wednesday that Liselotte Neumann, 45, would be the next European Solheim Cup captain.
Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Sorenstam was approached twice about becoming the captain, but each time declined, citing time constraints as a result of raising two young children.
Neumann, who won 13 LPGA and eight LET tournaments, is best known for her victory in the U.S. Women's Open in 1988, which Sorenstam credits for having inspired her to pursue golf more vigorously. Neumann played on six consecutive European Solheim Cup teams from 1990 through 2000.
"I think the Solheim Cup for me obviously has a lot of highlights in my career," she said here Wednesday morning. "I'm definitely ranking this at the very top, I think."
Curiously, Neumann was not certain she wanted the job. She said that back in November she was approached about becoming a candidate, accepted, but changed her mind five days later.
"I took my name off the list," she said. "I was the vice captain in 2009 and the Junior Solheim Cup captain in 2011. I really had to think about it. Did I want to do it two more years? It's very time-consuming.
"But a few months later, I ended up getting a lot of very nice emails and text messages from players and friends. Everybody was kind of pushing me to please consider again. It got me thinking. I might never get the opportunity again. So I put my name back on the list. I'm very honored. It feels great to have that support from family and friends."
It won't be the first time she opposes U.S. captain Meg Mallon. Each was a Junior Solheim Cup captain for their respective teams in 2011. The matches ended in a tie, allowing the U.S. to retain the cup.
"Of course, all the U.S. players were smiling and the European players were all crying," she said. "I saw Meg the other night and said, 'how about we just play for a tie?'"
A tie, of course, would allow Europe to retain the cup it won in 2011.
"Absolutely not," Mallon replied.-- John Strege