Solheim Cup: Meet Team USA

Meg Mallon - Captain of U.S. Team

Having played in eight Solheim Cups over the past two decades, Meg Mallon has her share of great stories. Take Judy Rankin, for instance.

“(She) put me in the most uncomfortable positions,” remembers Mallon. “But she had faith in me that I could handle it.”

Captain Rankin slotted Mallon in the anchor position during the Sunday singles sessions in both the 1996 and 1998 Solheim Cups. How did it turn out? Mallon beat Helen Alfredsson, 4 and 2, in 1996. Then she scored a half-point against Sophie Gustafson down the stretch in 1998.

The U.S. Team won both years.

“It turns out I was actually comfortable and good in that position,” says Mallon. “But I didn’t know that she knew that in me.”

If Mallon applies the lessons she’s learned from her years playing the Solheim Cup, she’ll have a great chance at leading her U.S. Team to victory this week at Colorado Golf Club.

“It should be fun,” says Mallon.

As a player, Mallon was a dominant force in the Solheim Cup. She recorded at least one victory in seven of her eight appearances and her 16 ½ points is second in U.S. Team history only to Juli Inkster. Even at the 2005 Solheim Cup – Mallon’s last at age 42 – she was a huge factor, winning 2 ½ points in a big American victory.

Chalk it up to gritty determination, a hallmark of Mallon’s entire career. Of her 18 career LPGA victories, four were majors. Her last major title – not dissimilar from her last Solheim Cup – came when she was above the age of 40.

On that occasion, Mallon outlasted the best player in the world at the time, Annika Sorenstam, to win the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open by two strokes at the Orchard’s Golf Club in South Hadley, Mass.

“I’ve gotten the question, ‘Did you ever think you would win a U.S. Open at 41?’” Mallon asks rhetorically. “And I thought, well, that’s all I’ve been thinking about at 41! [It’s about] the desire; the desire in your heart and gut wanting to be there and winning golf tournaments.”

Sounds like an excellent pep talk for a young U.S. Team on the verge of the 13th Solheim Cup.


Assistant Captains

Dottie Pepper

Solheim Cup: Six appearances
Record: 13-5-2

The longtime television golf commentator brings to the U.S. Team a wealth of experience. Pepper’s 13-5-2 Solheim Cup record is one of the best ever in U.S. Team history. She was unstoppable from 1994 to 1998, a fierce competitor who compiled a record of 10-1-0 during the three Solheim Cups contested in that stretch. “Dottie and I have spent our entire careers together and I know what a great complement she will be to our team,” attested U.S. Captain Meg Mallon, announcing Pepper’s captaincy last year. Retired from the LPGA for nearly a decade, Pepper won two majors during her career, the 1992 and 1999 Kraft Nabisco Championships.

Laura Diaz

Solheim Cup Teams: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007
Record
: 6-6-1

In her first captaincy role in the Solheim Cup, Diaz served as Meg Mallon’s “eyes and ears” this past year on the LPGA Tour, helping to round out and finalize the U.S. squad. She burst onto the scene at the 2002 Solheim Cup, where she went 3-1-0 as a rookie, picking up a crucial singles victory in the final day that helped propel the U.S. to a narrow victory over Europe. A two-time LPGA Tour champion, Diaz attended Wake Forest University, where she was the 1995 Atlantic Coast Conference champion, a First-Team All-American from 1996 to 1997 and was the 1997 Female Athlete of the Year.

Team Members
 

Stacy Lewis
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 977 points
Solheim Cup Teams: 2011  
Record:
1-3-0

The four-time All-American from the University of Arkansas and 12-time collegiate champion made her first LPGA victory a major, winning the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship in her fourth year on Tour. She carried that success into a breakout 2012 season, collecting four more titles and 12 additional top-10 finishes en route to earning 2012 Rolex Player of the Year honors.

She came out of the gates in 2013 firing on all cylinders, securing back-to-back wins at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore and the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, Ariz., where she gained the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings. Lewis held the position for four weeks. She enters her second Solheim Cup after securing her second-career major at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and ranked as the No. 2 player in the world.

Paula Creamer
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 559.5 points
Solheim Cup Teams: 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011
Record: 11-3-5

A teenage sensation early in her career, she won the 2004 LPGA Qualifying Tournament by five strokes and went on to win the Sybase Classic a year later only four days before graduating high school. Creamer ended the 2005 season with another win at the Evian Masters and nine additional top-10 finishes. Following a record-breaking season, she clinched the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award.   

In her ninth year as an LPGA Tour pro, Creamer holds nine LPGA titles, including a major at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. This year, she boasts five top-10 finishes including a runner-up finish at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I. With an 11-3-5 record in four Solheim Cup appearances, Creamer has proven to be one of the stewards for the U.S. team.

 

Cristie Kerr
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 502.5 points
Solheim Cup Teams: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011
Record: 11-12-3

A two-time major champion, Kerr has a U.S. Women’s Open and an LPGA Championship to her credit, the latter coming via a record 12-stroke victory in 2010. She collected her 16th career LPGA victory at the 2013 Kingsmill Championship in May, defeating Norway’s Suzann Pettersen in a three-hole playoff.

With six Solheim Cup appearances, Kerr is one of the most experienced players on the U.S. squad and has helped her team to victory on four occasions. She has excelled in the four-ball competition, amassing an 8-4-0 record.


Angela Stanford
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 421.5 points
Solheim Cup Teams: 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011
Record: 3-7-3

She was a standout collegian, a four-time All-Western Conference selection and a nine-time winner at Texas Christian University. Since joining the LPGA Tour in 2001, Stanford has won five titles to her name, her most recent at the 2012 HSBC Women’s Champions where she won a three-hole, four-player playoff. She ended a 14 year wait for an American victory in Asia.

Stanford has fared well this year, notching several top-five finishes, including a tie for fourth at the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club. She says the Solheim Cup unequivocally produces the most pressure in golf. This year marks her fifth appearance on the U.S. Solhiem Cup team.

 

Brittany Lincicome
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 269 points
Solheim Cup Teams: 2007, 2009, 2011
Record:
4-6-1

Known as one of the longest hitters on the LPGA Tour, Lincicome amassed a stellar junior and amateur career. She was a star on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) circuit, winning three events. She competed in the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open and led after the first round as an amateur.

Her first victory came at the 2006 HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship and collected her first major championship title three years later, eagling the 72nd hole at Mission Hills Country Club to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She defeated Cristie Kerr and Kristsy McPherson by one stroke. Lincicome has five LPGA titles to date as she prepares for her fourth consecutive showing at the Solheim Cup.

Lexi Thompson
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 261 points
Solheim Cup Teams: First appearance    

Thompson becomes the youngest player to ever compete on the U.S. Solheim Cup team at age 18. She makes her first appearance with quite a few accomplishments already under her belt. She turned pro in 2010 and won the Navistar LGPA Classic the following year, becoming the youngest winner in LPGA history at 16 years, 7 months and 8 days old, which has since been broken. Following her win, she was granted LPGA membership by Commissioner Mike Whan and is currently the youngest player on the LPGA Tour.

She also competed on the Ladies European Tour in 2011 and won the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters Championship, becoming the youngest champion on that tour as well. At 12 years old, Thompson became the youngest to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007.

 

Jessica Korda
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 257.5 points
Solheim Cup Teams: First appearance

Korda made her first statement on the LPGA Tour in 2012 when she sank a 25-foot birdie putt to win the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open following a six-way playoff. She became the fourth-youngest winner of the 72-hole LPGA event at 18 years, 11 months and 16 days.

She had an excellence amateur career as well, making the cut at both the 2008 and 2009 U.S. Women’s Open before turning pro. Similarly, she fared well at this year’s Open, finishing tied for seventh at Sebonack Golf Club.  She has notched six additional top-10 finishes this season including a runner-up finish at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.

Brittany Lang
U.S. Team Selection: Solheim Cup Points List: 241points
Solheim Cup Teams: 2009, 2011    
Record: 2-3-2

With her victory at the 2012 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Lang became the first player from Duke University to win on the LPGA Tour, where she was a six-time collegiate champion. Lang had a breakout season in 2008, recording eight top-10 finishes. It helped propel her to the first of two Solheim Cup appearances in 2009.

The 27-year-old came close to her second-career victory at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club, finishing tied for seventh. It marked her 37th top-10 finish on the LPGA Tour since her rookie season in 2006.

 

Lizette Salas
U.S. Team Selection: Rolex Rankings No. 19
Solheim Cup Teams: First appearance

Competing in her first Solheim Cup in just her second season as an LPGA Tour pro, Salas player her way onto the team, finishing sixth at the RICOH Women’s Britih Open earlier this month to secure her spot. She had a strong rookie year in 2012, finishing third in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. She was close to securing her first professional victory on two occasions this year, the first coming at the Kraft Nabisco Championship when she led the third round only to end in a tie for 25th. She then fell to Suzann Pettersen in a playoff at the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf just two weeks later.

Salas was the first four-time All-American in the University of Southern California’s golf history, where she won three times.  

Morgan Pressel
U.S. Team Selection: Rolex Rankings No. 41
Solheim Cup Teams: 2007, 2009, 2011
Record: 7-2-2

Pressel secured her fourth Solheim Cup appearance thanks to a strong tie for fourth finish at this month’s RICOH Women’s British Open. She has been a rock for the U.S. Team in the biennial competition, compiling a 7-2-2 record, including an undefeated showing in 2011 when she was 4-0-0.

A headline-maker early in her career, Pressel qualified for the LPGA in her first attempt in 2005 at age 17. She became the youngest player in LPGA history to win a major championship when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2007 at 18 years, 10 months and 9 day.


 

Gerina Piller
U.S. Team Selection: Captain’s Pick
Solheim Cup Teams: First appearance

The third-year LPGA Tour professional earned her first appearance on the U.S. Solheim Cup team thanks to a strong 2012 campaign that included five top-10 finishes in 17 events, including a tie for fifth at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. She also made the cut at the RICOH Women’s British Open, finishing tied for 36th.

While Piller is still looking for her first professional victory, she had an excellent career at the University of Texas, El Paso. She was a four-time individual champion as a senior and was named the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2007.




Michelle Wie
U.S. Team Selection: Captain’s Pick
Solheim Cup Teams: 2009, 2011    
Record: 4-3-1

She burst onto the golf scene at a young age, setting multiple records during her successful junior and amateur careers. Her first LPGA appearance was at the 2002 Takefuji Classic where she became the youngest player to Monday Qualify for an LPGA event when she was 12 years, 4 months and 14 days.

Wie broke through for her first LPGA victory at the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational and won again the following year at the CN Canadian Women’s Open. The long hitter has competed in the last two Solheim Cups and has performed well, amassing a 4-3-1 record. This year, she earned a Captain’s Pick on the strength of her Solheim Cup record and two ninth-place finishes, including at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

 

Topics: Solheim Cup