2005: Newsmakers - Europe selects Alfredsson for ’07 Solheim

The Ladies European Tour was determined to find a Swede to lead the 2007 European Solheim Cup team in Sweden. On Nov. 24, it selected Helen Alfredsson, who fits the profile perfectly.

The spirited, 40-year-old LPGA veteran grew up in Goteborg, 90 miles north of the coastal city of Halmstad, where the matches will be played at Halmstad Golf Club.

Alfredsson captained the 2003 European Junior Solheim Cup team to victory but didn’t believe her time with the “varsity” squad would come until much later. However, she was approached two months ago and asked to captain the 2007 team. The answer was simple.

“I thought it was a little bit early,” Alfredsson said Nov. 29 from her home in Sweden, “but this is a great time to be involved in women’s golf. I still see all the girls every week on tour and we keep in touch. Everything has its time, and this worked out perfectly.”

Alfredsson, a seven-time Cup member with a 10-12-2 record, becomes the third Swedish golfer to captain a European Solheim Cup team following Catrin Nilsmark (2003, 2005) and Pia Nilsson (1998).

Liselotte Neumann, another Swede, said at the season-ending ADT Championship that she was approached to captain the team, but she declined by saying she still wishes to play in her homeland in 2007.

By taking the reins, Alfredsson admitted that her hopes of playing in another Solheim Cup are slim.

This year she played 20 LPGA events, missed seven cuts and tied for 67th in earnings with $135,729.

Alfredsson has five career LPGA titles, including the 1993 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and has won 11 times in Europe.

“I’m on a little bit of a senior schedule right now,” Alfredsson said. “I play when I want to play. That suits me just fine.”

Sweden hosted the matches in 2003 at Barseback Golf and Country Club, when Annika Sorenstam led Europe to a seven-point victory over the U.S. for the biggest rout in Solheim Cup history. The U.S., with Nancy Lopez as captain, reclaimed the cup in September by defeating Europe, 151⁄2-121⁄2, at Crooked Stick.

Alfredsson said her only goal is to bring the cup back to Europe.

“You better believe I’m ready,” she said in a fun, yet devious tone. “I will stop at nothing.”

The LPGA is expected to name the U.S. captain in March.

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