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Sorenstam & Morley Named European Solheim Cup Vice-Captains
Annika Sorenstam and Joanne Morley have been selected as vice-captains for the 2011 European Solheim Cup Team by Captain Alison Nicholas. The event will be held September 23-25 at Killeen Castle in County Meath Ireland.
Sorenstam, the biennial event's all-time leading points' scorer with 24, played in eight straight Solheim Cup competitions from 1994-2007. The former world No. 1 won 89 tournaments around the world before retiring at the end of 2008 to focus on business interests and start a family.
Morley, a vice-captain to Nicholas at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., in 2009, where the Europeans lost 16 to12, competed in the 1996 Solheim Cup and is a two-time Ladies European Tour winner.
"I am thrilled, humbled and honored that Joanne and Annika have accepted my invitation to be my vice-captains for the 2011 Solheim Cup matches at Killeen Castle in Ireland," said Nicholas. "I am looking forward to working with them both over the next 15 to 16 months. Their combined Solheim Cup experience will be invaluable. Joanne's expertise working behind the scenes in two previous Solheim Cups and Annika's wealth of experience as the most successful female golfer of all time provides a strong, inspirational, passionate and unified team which will guide the European players to success in bringing the cup back to Europe.
"Joanne is a great character with a gift of encouragement to whomever she is with and gives her all in whatever she does. Annika is a born winner who thrives under pressure with a cool efficiency and passionate desire to win in whatever she undertakes. I am adopting the same strategy as last time in terms of having a vice-captain on both sides of the Atlantic."
Sorenstam, a winner of 10 major championships, holds a number of records in Solheim Cup competition. In addition to earning the most points (24), she has won the most matches (22) and scored the most points in foursomes with 11.5. She has also competed in 15 of the 19 foursomes matches played, tying for the most foursomes matches played with Laura Davies.
"I was a little quiet on the phone when Alison asked me because I was totally surprised," said Sorenstam. "She asked me and I said, 'Could you give me 24 hours?' I knew my answer would be yes but I wanted to make sure I could live up to her expectations with my schedule and fulfill my role properly. I called her back and said: yes. Some of the highlights of my career as a professional have been at the Solheim Cup. That helped with my answer, but I would love to be a part of it. Now I can participate and help to bring the trophy back.
"I'm looking forward to being with the players again, not inside the ropes, but closer. I can help from past experience: the way I approached it, give a different perspective and provide an extra hand when needed. I can help with strategy with regards to course set-up, administrative roles and anything Alison needs help with. I'm just going to follow my orders!"
Morley said of her appointment: "I am humbled at Alison's confidence in me to help bring home the Cup and grateful for this opportunity. I am looking forward to once again learning and growing under Alison's captaincy. The thing that struck me about Alison is that she left no stone unturned in her quest to bring the Cup back.
Alison is not just a great golfer, she is also a fantastic business person with good communication skills I could not think of a better person more suited to lead Team Europe in 2011."
Alexandra Armas, Executive Director of the Ladies European Tour, said during the announcement: "We are delighted that Alison has been able to build such a strong team for the 2011 matches at Killeen Castle and we are confident that, in Annika and Joanne, she has selected the best possible vice-captains to help achieve an historic home victory when the competition is played for the first time in Ireland."
"The Solheim family is very pleased to have Annika Sorenstam and Joanne Morley named as vice-captains to assist Alison Nicholas," said John A. Solheim, Chairman and CEO of PING, whose father Karsten Solheim created the competition. "The Solheim Cup experience of both Annika and Joanne will add tremendously to the European team. Having World Golf Hall-of-Fame member Annika involved will generate a special excitement all its own."
The 2011 Solheim Cup will be the 12th staging of the transatlantic team match-play tournament, which features the best 12 European players from the Ladies European Tour and the best 12 U.S.-born players from the LPGA. The U.S. leads the series 8-3. The Europeans last won the event at Barsebäck in Sweden in 2003, when Nicholas was a vice-captain to Catrin Nilsmark and Sorenstam played a pivotal on-course role.