2004: Newsmakers - GB&I puts crosshairs on Wie
Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup captain Ada O’Sullivan is planning to use the specter of playing against Michelle Wie to motivate her eight-member squad to victory over the United States.
O’Sullivan will field a team of six rookies and two veterans when her side attempts to win the Curtis Cup June 12-13 at Formby Golf Club in England. She plans to play the Wie card heavily to spur her side on to its first victory since 1996.
“There hasn’t been a lot of talk amongst the girls about Michelle Wie,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s me who has been bringing it up to them to motivate them. She is my reverse trump card. I’ve been saying to them ‘Who would not like to play against Michelle Wie?’ and they have all said they would relish the chance to play against her.
“It will be like the Tiger Woods/Gary Wolstenholme scenario in the (1995) Walker Cup when Gary beat Tiger. I think every member of the team would love to win a point off Michelle Wie.”
O’Sullivan says two factors should help her side.
“The way the course will be set up, length will not be a huge factor.” she said. “The tees will be set up so that the girls will be hitting irons and fairway woods off tees.
“Besides, Michelle Wie is a superb stroke player, but this is match play and the GB&I girls will have a lot more experience in match play than her.”
Emma Duggleby, 32, and Fame More, 22, are the only two GB&I members with Curtis Cup experience. Duggleby is making her third consecutive appearance in the biennial match. The current English Ladies’ champion has a 4-3-1 record from the last two matches. More lost her only match at Fox Chapel in 2002.
Six rookies round off the team: Ireland’s Claire Coughlin, 24, won the 2003 Irish Stroke Play title; Anna Highgate, 21, from Wales, has been a Welsh International for the last five years; Scotland’s Anne Laing, 29, is the current Scottish Amateur champion; Danielle Masters, 21, from Maidstone, England, is a former winner of the England Under-21 and Under-23 titles; Nicola Timmins, 23, from Folkestone, England, won the English Ladies’ Intermediate Championship last year; and Shelley McKevitt, 24, from Reading, England, is a former University of North Carolina player who is the current Ladies’ British Stroke Play champion.
The GB&I squad received a boost two days before the team was selected by defeating a squad from the Ladies European Tour. At the dinner afterward, LET captain Nicky Moult read a letter to the amateurs from Annika Sorenstam encouraging them to add the Curtis Cup to the Solheim, Ryder and Walker Cups that already reside in Europe.
“We have three cups on this side of the Atlantic,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m very, very confident we can add the Curtis Cup to that collection.”
Nearly 2,500 advance tickets already have been sold for the match, and record crowds of 6,000 per day are expected.