By Ron Sirak
PHOENIX, Ariz. - With the United States experiencing the most lopsided beating in Solheim Cup history last August at Colorado Golf Club -- Europe winning for the first time on U.S. soil by a jolting 18-10 margin -- a no-nonsense captain seems logically to change the Americans' fortunes. And it appears they will have just that.
In a story first reported by Golf World Monday, multiple sources say the LPGA has tapped Juli Inkster to try to lead the U.S. to victory in Germany next year after having lost the last two times in the biennial competition. The 2015 event will be held Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot.
Multiple sources told Golf World Monday that the official announcement will be made Tuesday at the JTBC Founders Cup. The LPGA declined to comment.
Juli Inkster, seen here in 2011 during the opening ceremony of the Solheim Cup, is expected to be name the 2015 U.S. captain in the coming days. (Getty Images)
The move has some similarities to the PGA of America's decision to have Tom Watson, as gritty a competitor as you'll find, captain this year's U.S. Ryder Cup team. Inkster, who turns 54 in June, can match Watson grit for grit. A seven-time major champion, Inkster holds the record for most Solheim Cups played (nine) and most points won (18 1/2) by an American. And her 6-1-2 singles mark gives her the most points won in that format by anyone.
There was an eerie feeling in the thin Colorado air seven months ago as the visiting Europeans appeared to be having their "1987 moment." In 1987, Europe won the Ryder Cup on U.S. soil for the first time, giving the men back-to-back victories for the first time in the matches. Since then, they have won seven times with one tie while the Americans have taken home the Cup on just four occasions.
While the Americans loved playing for captain Meg Mallon in Colorado and felt so badly about letting her down that most wanted her to be captain again, there were also stories of some overly entitled behavior in the team room. Such antics seemed to carry over on to the course, with the Americans' painted-nail finger-waving celebrations backfiring as they helped motivate Europe.
Inkster is noted for having a solid relationship with many young players on the LPGA Tour, a fact she has said over the years has much to do with raising two daughters. "I speak teenager," she has joked.
This season, Inkster previously indicated, will be her last year as a full-time LPGA competitor. With $13.6 million, she's fifth on the all-time money list, winning 31 overall titles.
Besides her stellar Solheim Cup record, Inkster proved she knows a thing or two about match play by winning three consecutive U.S. Women's Amateur Championships. Now she has to do it as a captain.