Juli Inkster will captain the 2015 U.S. Solheim Cup team, and she’ll lead the same way she built her Hall of Famer career – with her heart.
“I’m not a huge number cruncher,” Inkster said. “I’m not going to pick a girl if she has more birdies on a par-3 than somebody I really want on the team.”
Inkster, 53, will try to end a two-Cup drought for the Americans, who lost for the first time on American soil last August in Colorado. The 2015 Solheim will be held for the time in Germany on Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club.
Inkster, the winningest player in American team history, has 18½ points in nine Solheim Cup appearances. She also leads the way in singles victories with seven.
Inkster said she has no desire to compete in the next Solheim. She became the oldest player in Solheim history in 2011 at 51 years, 2 months and 30 days. She made even more history that year by becoming the first player to both compete in a Solheim Cup and serve as assistant captain.
The LET plans to announce its captain April 11 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Inkster, who wasn’t at Colorado Golf Club last summer, said it looked to her like the American team played too tight.
“It’s not rocket science,” Inkster said. “You just go over there and play some golf, and I think . . . believe me if they just play the way they should play, we’re going to have fun, and we’re going to win.”
Stacy Lewis, America’s top-ranked player, said Inkster’s presence on tour the last few years gives her an advantage over other recent captains. She knows the players and she knows their games.
“When we see all the highlight videos Solheim Cup week, Juli is in most of them,” Lewis said, “and she’s usually dancing around the green and having fun. I think that’s what she’s going to bring to this.”
Inkster named good friend Pat Hurst as her first assistant captain and isn’t sure whether or not she’ll add a second. Inkster and Hurst have been inseparable on tour for years, playing countless practice rounds together.
“She actually went to San Jose State on the Juli Inkster scholarship,” Inkster said. “I don’t think it helped her much, but what the heck.”
Inkster, nine years older than Hurst, said the first time they met, Pat said: “Thanks, Mrs. Inkster.”
Now the two moms will try to show a younger generation how it’s done overseas. Hurst, the more detail-oriented of the two, often takes longer to weigh the options before making a decision. Inkster said Hurst will be good at reining her in a little bit.
As for managing a team of 12 women, Inkster said their skills as parents should come in handy.
“No one wants to be micromanaged,” said Inkster, “and I don’t micromanage my kids. I’m not going to micromanage the team. I have a lot of respect for my kids, and I have a lot of respect for these girls here. They know what they’re doing. It’s not like (it’s) their first rodeo.”