Suzann Pettersen named 2024 European Solheim Cup captain
Ross Parker - SNS Group
Team USA and Team Europe have now locked in their captains for the next two Solheim Cups. The Ladies European Tour announced on Tuesday that Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, already captain for the 2023 team that competes this September in Spain, also will oversee the 2024 squad at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia.
The announcement follows Stacy Lewis formally being charged with double duty last week by LPGA officials. However, Pettersen, a nine-time Solheim veteran as a player, knew this was the plan for some time.
“For the European side,” Pettersen said, “this was kind of a part of the deal. Especially because it's such a short gap between the first and the second one, almost about 11 months. So we figured it's quite a short time to swap out the entire team or leadership team. So I've known for a while, and it was part of the gig.
"I'm just happy to announce it, and I must say it's already overlapping a lot."
While the 11-month turnout would imply it'd be challenging to change captains between Cups, Team Europe did exactly that between 2002 and 2003. Dale Reid led the team in 2002, Pettersen's debut Solheim appearance and a loss for the Euros. They then switched to Catrin Nilsmark as captain in 2003, claiming victory that year at home in Sweden.
While playing back-to-back Solheims helped Pettersen get comfortable playing in the event, she didn’t recall any difficulties as a player. That said, for 2023 and 2024, the 41-year-old plans to bring as much consistency as possible between Cups from a captaincy perspective. Not only will she captain both, but she also plans to keep all her vice captains.
“I've always been a feel player,” Pettersen said. “Obviously, we are going to base some of these two events on some kind of statistics and philosophy, but at the same time, I'm going to go with the flow in a lot of ways.”
That approach has served Pettersen over two decades of involvement in the Solheim. She played from 2002-2015, then returned in 2019 to hole the winning putt in dramatic fashion at Gleneagles. The nine-time Solheim player served as an assistant in 2017 and 2021.
Pettersen declared her retirement after winning the Cup in 2019 but plans to play a few events to be inside the ropes with some of her potential players. She'll be playing at the DOW Great Lakes Bay Invitational in July, the LPGA's team event, where Pettersen played alongside then Team Europe captain Catriona Matthew in 2019 before getting selected as a captain’s pick. Pettersen played in an Aramco Team Series Jeddah event last November and is considering playing in Pro-Ams to get a closer look inside the ropes at some of her players.
It's fueling an ardent confidence in her belief of what her teams can accomplish over the next two Solheims.
“I've looked into the crystal ball for many months already, and the crystal ball only gets stronger and stronger in my opinion. I love the progression that a lot of the European players are having these days. A lot of our players have won over the last year.
“That's very important because winning brings confidence, and confidence brings belief again. So I want players to believe in themselves that we can manage to bring it home once again.”