Lewis wins U.S. Team points race; Mallon names Piller, Wie as captain’s picks
ST. ANDREWS, FIFE, SCOTLAND, Aug. 4, 2013 – Meg Mallon revealed Gerina Piller and Michelle Wie as captain’s picks for the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team at a press conference tonight following the RICOH Women’s British Open at the Old Course. Led by British Open winner and runaway U.S. points leader Stacy Lewis, Mallon’s 12-player squad includes eight Solheim Cup veterans and four rookies.
The 13th edition of The Solheim Cup will be played August 16-18, 2013 at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado. The U.S. Team seeks to keep their undefeated record on home soil intact when the biennial match-play competition.
Based on the final U.S. Solheim Cup standings, the top-eight players who automatically qualified for the team via a points race that began at the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open are (listed in order of points ranking): Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Brittany Lang. The two highest ranked players not in the top-8 spots on the points list who qualified via the Rolex Rankings are No. 19 Lizette Salas and No. 41 Morgan Pressel.
“I’m just thrilled to finally have my team announced,” Mallon said. “I have 12 players who I am very excited to have on this team. They have all played their hearts out over the last two years.”
Wie will make her third appearance on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team with a 4-3-1 all-time record in the event.
“I am so happy and so honored and so grateful to be a captain’s pick,” Wie said. “To play under Meg and be with all the girls again, it’s a dream come true.”
Piller is making her first appearance in The Solheim Cup.
“I feel a thousand emotions, but I’m just honored to be considered and ecstatic to be picked,” Piller said.
Qualifying points for the U.S. Team are awarded weekly to the top-20 finishers and ties at official LPGA tournaments. Points are doubled at the four major championships every year. Points during a Solheim Cup year are weighted with 60 points for a win, 30 for second, 28.5 for third, 27 for fourth, 25.5 for fifth, 24 for sixth, 22.5 for seventh, 21 for eighth, 19.5 for ninth, 18 for 10th, 16.5 for 11th, 15 for 12th, 13.5 for 13th, 12 for 14th, 10.5 for 15th, 9 for 16th, 7.5 for 17th, 6 for 18th, 4.5 for 19th and 3 for 20th.
The European Solheim Cup Team, led by Captain Liselotte Neumann, was also announced at St. Andrews this evening. Based on the final European Solheim Cup standings, the top-4 players who automatically qualified for the team are: Suzann Pettersen (Norway), Carlota Ciganda (Spain), Catriona Matthew (Scotland) and Caroline Masson (Germany). Based on the Rolex Rankings, the four highest-ranked players not in the top-4 spots on the points list who qualified are: No. 20 Beatriz Recari (Spain), No. 22 Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), No. 24 Karine Icher (France) and No. 27 Azahara Munoz (Spain). Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England), Caroline Hedwall (Sweden), Giulia Sergas (Italy), and Charley Hull (England) – who will be the youngest competitor in Solheim Cup history at 17 – round out the European Team as captain’s picks.
The two‑year long quest to be at Colorado Golf Club has ended here today on the Old Course at St. Andrews, and we would like to congratulate Stacy Lewis on winning The Ricoh Women's British Open here today.
It's my pleasure to introduce the captains to you central to today's proceedings. We are delighted to have European Solheim Cup Captain, Liselotte Neumann and United States Captain, Meg Mallon.
I'll hand it over to Meg to announce the ten players who qualified for the United States Team.
MEG MALLON: Thanks for being here. On our side, it was a very exciting day; the point changed, the Rolex Rankings changed, so a lot happened in one day for our team.
So like to announce my ten qualifiers: Of course, Stacy Lewis, who may have had a record point total all‑time of Solheim Cups these last two years. Paula Creamer finished second. Cristie Kerr is third. Angela Stanford, fourth. Brittany Lincicome finished fifth. Lexi Thompson, a rookie, finished sixth. Another rookie, Jessica Korda, finished seventh. Brittany Lang, hung on by the skin of her chinny chin chin to finish eighth, and in the Rolex Rankings another rookie, Lizette Salas, and Morgan Pressel.
Now hand it over to Liselotte to announce the eight players who qualified for her European Team.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: On our points system, Suzann Pettersen, Carlota Ciganda, Catriona Matthew and Caroline Masson. And off the Rolex Ranking, Beatriz Recari, Anna Nordqvist, Karine Icher and Azahara Munoz.
BETHAN CUTLER: Now the excitement builds as Meg will announce her two wildcard picks to complete the United States Team.
MEG MALLON: Okay, on my first pick, I'd like to introduce another rookie on my team, originally from New Mexico, now living in Texas, Gerina Piller.
And my second pick is also a young player, but not a rookie, Michelle Wie.
BETHAN CUTLER: Now over to Liselotte to announce the four picks that will complete The European Team.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: From England, Jodi Ewart. And from Sweden, Caroline Hedwall. From Italy, Giulia Sergar, and my last pick, from England, Charley Hull.
BETHAN CUTLER: Congratulations to everybody who made the team, and we will now take some questions from the floor.
Q. How difficult was it to make the decisions with your wild cards, the fact that you had four?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I think having four picks obviously made it really difficult. I'm going to work on changing that I think.
But you know, it was a tough day obviously having to make some of the phone calls and talking to some of the players. But I feel really comfortable and very confident with these four players that I picked. They totally complete our team and I'm super happy about our picks.
Q. Did you have your mind made up up until, maybe a couple of hours ago, did you know exactly your team?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Obviously with the play today, we were watching scores and so on. There was a few players that were still on the golf course that could have made a change this week, but I was pretty much looking for players to either win or finish second for anything to really happen on this system or the Rolex ranking.
Q. How big of a challenge is it to try to win in America for the first time?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Obviously we've never won over there, so it's obviously a big challenge. You know, I feel like this is really the team that's going to do it for us.
We've got some young girls on here, we've got some rookies, so we've got some big, strong players, and some players that can really hit it, which I think favours. In Colorado, the golf course is quite generous off the tees, and looking for good, long hitters and some girls with great energy, and I think this is the team that's going to do it.
Q. You only had two picks, was it easier for you?
MEG MALLON: Not whatsoever. This was a gut‑wrenching day today. We had so many scenarios just going into today, and so many players played so well. I mean, it's a good problem to have. I had players playing really well, and unfortunately only 12 can make the team. But I'm really, really happy with my picks and my 12 players that I'm bringing to Denver.
Q. Do you think they are strong enough to bring back the trophy?
MEG MALLON: Yeah, incredibly strong. We are playing on all cylinders right now and I'm really excited about it.
Q. How big of a boost have you received today with the fact that Stacy won this afternoon?
MEG MALLON: Yeah, I'm happy for Stacy. Stacy is a friend and I'm just happy ‑‑ I know this is a dream come true for her and I'm just thrilled for her personally.
Q. After what Europe did last time, what do you think you need to do this time maybe different to two years ago?
MEG MALLON: Just win two more points (laughter).
You know, every Solheim Cup is so close, and it's an exciting event, and Ireland was just an unbelievable event, and I had some players on the team that are highly motivated. They didn't like that taste in their mouth and they are ready to get back.
Q. Charlie, someone who is pretty young, start of your career, what does it mean to you to be picked?
CHARLEY HULL: It's an honor. It's funny, because I played in junior Solheim Cup last time and Liselotte was my captain then, so it's pretty cool.
Q. What was your reaction when you heard?
CHARLEY HULL: I just smiled, but I was like keeping cool about it though (laughter).
Q. You've got a lot of experienced teammates, as well, is that going to help you do you think?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I hope so. Just keep on trying to play like I did this year.
Q. Can you explain why you picked Charley? She's very young but clearly she's shown great form this year.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: She's had a great year and she has five second finishes on Tour. She shoots in the 60s about 30 per cent of the time. I find her energetic, fearless and I think she's just a great competitor. I met her two years ago, as she said, on the Junior team and, I feel she's a great addition to our team.
Q. There was speculation you might have picked Laura Davies who has played in every Solheim Cup, and she said earlier in the week they wasn't going to be picked. Did you speak to her and was that a difficult decision for you?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I spoke to her yesterday, and she knew and she said that: You know, I haven't played enough. I tried but I haven't performed well enough, and I just wish you and the team the best of luck and just go get 'em, you can do it in Colorado."
Q. What was your thinking behind the two players you picked, especially Michelle, the fact that she has experience, was that important to you in?
MEG MALLON: Absolutely, Michelle to me was a no‑brainer, with her experience, she can handle the big stage. She's played well in Solheim Cups, and I just really believe in Michelle Wie, and am excited for her to be coming to Colorado.
BETHAN CUTLER: Thank you everyone very much for joining you go today.
Topics: Solheim Cup