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Neumann Named European Solheim Cup Captain
On Thursday, Liselotte Neumann was appointed captain of the 2013 European Solheim Cup team. The Swede will replace England's Alison Nicholas, who was the captain for the past two Solheim Cups. Neumann was an assistant captain for Nicholas in 2009.
Neumann will face American captain Meg Mallon when the two teams meet next at Colorado Golf Club in August 2013. Europe is the defending champion, beating the U.S. 15-13 last year at Killeen Castle in Ireland.
The selection of Neumann comes several months after retired Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam took her name out of the running for the captain's position.
Neumann is a 13-time winner on the LPGA Tour and has accumulated 27 victories worldwide. Her biggest title came in the 1998 U.S. Women's Open.
On Thursday from the site of this week's Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Neumann met with reporters to talk about her appointment. Here's what the 45-year-old had to say.
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship. I'm Mike Scanlan from LPGA communications, and with me today is Mr.Marc Anderman from the Ladies European Tour. He's the Solheim Cup manager when the Solheim Cup is in Europe. As you know, in 2013 we will bring the Solheim Cup to Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado just outside Denver, and right now the all time match up is eight wins for the U.S., four for Europe, with Europe coming off a fantastic victory at Killeen Castle last year. On that note I'd like to hand it over to Marc. He has a very special announcement to make.
MARC ANDERMAN: We're delighted on behalf of the Ladies European Tour Solheim Cup committee to announce the next European captain will be Liselotte Neumann from Sweden. Liselotte, you've had an incredible career and you've inspired many European players and many Swedish players. How does this rank as now one of your achievements?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: It's definitely going to be right there at the top, I think. I've had a great career, and I think the Solheim Cup for me obviously has a lot of highlights in my career. Representing Europe and Sweden has meant a lot to me, so I'm definitely ranking this at the very top, I think.
MARC ANDERMAN: Mike kindly reminded us that the score is 8 to 4 and Europe have yet to win on U.S. soil. How is your strategy and plan going to change that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Well, I mean, obviously with the Europeans coming off the win last year, I think that gives obviously all our players great confidence. So I think everybody will be really fired up to hold on to the trophy and try to win it on U.S. soil for the first time. I think we can get everybody fired up for that.
Q. Liselotte, you've got a great friendship with the U.S. captain Meg Mallon, who we're delighted to have here today with us, and you were both PING Junior Solheim Cup captains in 2011 when the matches were drawn. How do you think that's going to continue?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Well, I saw Megs the other night, and yeah, we tied the matches at the Junior, and of course the U.S. were defending. So when the match was over, all the U.S. players were smiling and jumping around, and all my players from Europe were crying. I saw Meg the other night, and I said, "How about if we just play for a tie since we're holding on to the trophy?" She said, "Absolutely not." We'll see. It's going to be a good match.
Q. Liselotte, how fast did this all come together, you being offered and accepting, and did you have to think it over?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I did think it over. I actually found out in November I was put on the list and considered to be a captain, and I accepted to start with and kind of changed my mind about five days later and took my name off the list and just sort of felt that I had been involved with the Solheim the last four years, being the vice captain in 2009, being the junior captain, and I really had to think about it, do I want to do this for two more years. It's a big job. It's very time consuming, and I was kind of at that time when I was thinking about maybe doing a little bit of coaching or teaching, and I'm taking some nutrition classes and I sort of had all these plans that I was going to sort of move forward with. So I took my name off the list, and a few months later, I ended up getting a lot of very nice emails and text messages from a lot of the players and from friends and family, and everybody sort of pushing me to please consider this again; we would love to have you as our captain.
I think getting those notes from some of the players, I think, really sort of got me thinking again, am I going to miss out on this if I don't do this. I might never get the opportunity again. And I put my name back on the list and I got the okay. I'm very honored, and it feels great to have that support, I think, from family and friends and obviously mostly from the players, knowing that they're supporting me and behind me in this. I think we're going to create a really good team and a good atmosphere and really build on this.
Q. Can you just give us a couple snapshots in your mind of some of your favorite Solheim Cup memories over the years, whether in a playing capacity or otherwise?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: This is going back well, the first time we won, it was in '92. That was, I think, so unexpected for the Europeans. Looking at it on paper, we probably didn't have that strong of a team, but we all sort of pulled it together. I just remember playing in the rain. It was just horrible weather, and we all pulled it together, and that was sort of a great memory. Of course going back to 1990, the first match that we played in, the Solheim Cup, it was so small, there was really no one there. I don't even think we had a media tent. It might have been just a local paper there and a few people, but the tournament was really small.
I remember playing my singles match actually against Beth Daniels. She's back there, and I think she beat me 7&6. That's also a memory. Not a good memory but kind of a fond memory. And I think every Solheim Cup has its own memory, and every one has been a lot of fun to be a part of. Win or lose, I think the European team, we always made it fun, and we all sort of worked hard and stuck together, and no one was really crying when we lost. We still had a good time after. Just lots of great memories from the camaraderie and the team.
Q. What have you been up to the last couple years?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I play a little bit out on the Legends Tour, down at a few of those events. Just the last few days I was part of the Fresh & Easy Pro Am here and tried to play a little bit of golf. I joined the LPGA teaching division, and I'm really interested in fitness, so I got TPI certified. I'm doing a course online now for nutrition involvement, so hopefully I'll get certified at the end of the year. Just kind of interested in how the body works and maybe want to get into sort of sports nutrition combined with golf. I think nowadays, it's just really important because all the players coming out, everybody is working so hard, and it's really important to stay fit, especially with all the travel and everything that everybody is doing. So it kind of interests me, so I'm kind of working on something in that direction.
Q. Liselotte, how do you see the captain's role, and in what way does the captain most influence the outcome of a match or matches?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I think for me now I'm just kind of starting to sort of think about it, but obviously my first step now is going to be finding the vice captains and helpers, and I think that's going to be a really important part of it. I think it's really important to build up a good team around not only myself but around the players and have people there that the players are very comfortable with, that they get along with. You know, I think obviously that's going to be a big role for me to find the right people and really go out to players and ask them what their feelings are and who they think might be good people around them.
Q. You mentioned it's more work for you. How do you see the next year and a half for you? Will you be out on Tour more, going to more tournaments, being in Europe more, things like that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I will I mean, one of the things, too, I want to do is obviously go off to Colorado Golf Club and take a look there. But I will travel a little bit more now, try to get out to some events, and I'll definitely have to make a couple of stops over in Europe, which I don't mind because I travel over there anyway. I still have family there. So I will try to combine those trips with visits to Sweden. But yeah, I want to get out there and get to know a lot of the girls that obviously they don't know me since I've stopped playing, and I haven't played that much in Europe lately, so there will be a lot of girls that I need to go out and introduce myself to and say hi, all the young ones.
MODERATOR: We'd like to congratulate you on your appointment as captain, and if anyone has any additional questions she'll be available for a few minutes here. Again, the 2013 Solheim Cup will be in Denver August 13th through the 18th, and we look forward to seeing many of you there.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.