2005 Team Profiles

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupThe U.S. team will try to keep its record perfect on home soil and win back the Solheim Cup from Europe when the matches start Friday at Crooked Stick. Here is a closer look at the two teams:

Paula Creamer
Age: 19
Qualification: Ranked No. 8
Previous Solheims: None
At 19 years and one month is the youngest ever Solheim player. Has won twice this year as a rookie - Sybase Classic and Evian Masters - and ranked second on the LPGA money list behind Annika Sorenstam. Two years ago, she played in the Junior Solheim Cup and was a member of the winning 2004 Curtis Cup team. Tipped to reach the very top of the game.
Beth Daniel
Age: 48
Qualification: Captain's wild card
Previous Solheims: 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 3-4-1 Fourball: 4-2-2 Singles: 3-2-2 Total points won: 12.5
Oldest ever Solheim player - she will 49 next month - but can still teach the youngsters a thing or two. A member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, has 33 victories, including one major, in a career stretching back to 1979. Played in every Solheim Cup except 1998 when she was suffering from a shoulder injury. Last victory was in the 2003 BMO Canadian Women's Open.
Laura Diaz
Age: 30
Qualification: Ranked No.10
Previous Solheims: 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 1-2-0 Fourball: 1-1-0 Singles: 2-0-0 Total points won: 4
Daughter of a Florida-based professional, she is also married to a professional - Kevin Diaz - and is expecting her first child in four months time. Played her first professional season in Europe, and won the LET Rookie of the Year title in 1998 when she competed as Laura Philo. Has won twice on the LPGA Tour.
Natalie Gulbis
Age: 22
Qualification: Ranked No. 6
Previous Solheims: None
Often referred to as the Anna Kournikova of women's golf, the glamour girl from Las Vegas is still waiting her first professional victory. Has had a remarkably consistent season, finishing second to Cristie Kerr at the Michelob ULTRA Open and to Annika Sorenstam at the Scandinavian TPC in Sweden. Well-known for her sexy calendars and is the subject of a golf reality show.
Pat Hurst
Age: 36
Qualification: Ranked No. 5
Previous Solheims: 1998, 2000, 2002
Record: Foursomes: 3-2-0 Fourball: 2-1-0 Singles: 1-1-1 Total points won: 6.5
Won Satte Farm Classic last Sunday for a fourth career win that includes one major, the 1998 Kraft Nabisco Championship. Combines golf with family life - has a son and daughter - and returns to Solheim duty for a fourth time after missing out in Sweden two years ago.
Juli Inkster
Age: 45
Qualification: Ranked No. 3
Previous Solheims: 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 3-3-2 Fourball: 3-3-0 Singles: 4-1-0 Total points won: 11
A seven-time major and member of the Hall of Fame, has 30 victories on the LPGA Tour. Mother of two daughters, she manages to combine family life with a high profile sporting career. Won three consecutive US Women Amateur titles and lives in California and married to a fellow-professional, Brian Inkster.
Rosie Jones
Age: 45
Qualification: Ranked No. 4
Previous Solheims: 1990, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 3-2-0 Fourball: 4-4-0 Singles: 3-3-0 Total points won: 10
Would have been vice-Captain if she hadn't qualified automatically. Troubled by injury problems but still one of the feistiest players on the LPGA Tour. Says she is going to retire at the end of this season, but some of her colleagues don't believe her and her record suggests it might still be too soon. Has had six top tens this year, including an outright second behind Annika Sorenstam at the opening major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Cristie Kerr
Age: 27
Qualification: Ranked No.1
Previous Solheims: 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 0-2-0 Fourball: 3-1-0 Singles: 1-1-0 Total points won: 4
Two-time winner this season and has six in all on the LPGA Tour. Turned professional straight from school and so now in her ninth season on Tour. Game reached a new level after she shed a lot of weight and started working out - now is one of the fittest and best in the women's game.
Christina Kim
Age: 21
Qualification: Ranked No. 7
Previous Solheims: None
One of the biggest personalities in women's golf and gained a huge following in America since joining the LPGA Tour at the age of 18. Her parents are Korean - her Dad, Man Kim, is her caddie - but she was born in California and wears the American colours with enormous pride. Made her breakthrough with a win in the Long Drugs Challenge a year ago.
Meg Mallon
Age: 42
Qualification: Ranked No.2
Previous Solheims: 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 200, 2002, 2003
Record:Foursomes: 3-6-2 Fourball: 4-1-3 Singles: 4-2-1 Total points won: 14
A four-time major winner and 18 in all over her 19 years on the LPGA Tour. Troubled by a back injury sustained at the end of last season, she has not quite hit top form this season. But always a formidable Solheim competitor having played in every match except the first one.
Michele Redman
Age: 40
Qualification: Ranked No.9
Previous Solheims: 2000, 2002, 2003
Record:Foursomes: 0-1-1 Fourball: 2-1-0 Singles: 1-1-1 Total points won: 4
Could be considered one of the locals having attended Indiana University in Indianapolis. Has two victories in her 13 years on the LPGA Tour and is rated one of the most consistent. Clinched her fourth Solheim appearance with a top ten finish in the final qualifying event, the Wendy's Championship for Children.
Wendy Ward
Age: 32
Qualification: Captain's wild card
Previous Solheims: 2002, 2003
Record:Foursomes: 2-2-0 Fourball: 0-2-0 Singles: 0-1-1 Total points won: 2.5
Returned to the winner's circle for the first time in four years at the LPGA Takefuji Classic in Las Vegas in April - it was her fourth win on Tour. Failed to win a point at the last Solheim, but a determination to make amends could make her an even fiercer competitor.
Laura Davies (England)
Age: 41
Qualification: Ranked No.2
Previous Solheims: 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 7-4-1 Fourball: 5-5-2 Singles:4-4-0
Total points won: 17.5
Only player to compete in all nine Solheim Cups and holds the points record (17.5). A former world No.1, has four majors among her 20 LPGA victories and has won a record 34 times in Europe. Last win was in the 2004 AAMI Women's Australian Open. A huge hitter, she ranks among the most popular golfers - male or female - wherever she travels around the world.
Sophie Gustafson (Sweden)
Age: 31
Qualification: Captain's wild card
Previous Solheims: 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 3-0-1 Fourball: 2-4-0 Singles: 2-1-1
points won: 8
One of the longest hitters in women's golf, she has won 11 times on the LET and four times on the LPGA Tour. Had a relatively poor 2004 season, but showed her determination to make a fifth successive Solheim with a great run this summer highlighted by an outright second place in the Weetabix Women's British Open - a title she won in 2000.
Maria Hjorth (Sweden)
Age: 31
Qualification: Ranked No. 4
Previous Solheims: 2002
Record: Foursomes: DNP Fourball: 1-1-0 Singles: 0-1-0
Total points won: 1
Based in Arizona and plays mostly on the LPGA Tour, winning twice in 1999. Returned to Europe to win the 2004 Ladies' English Open, and successfully defended the tile in July. A big hitter who is capable of making a lot of birdies, she has a game made for match play.
Trish Johnson
Age: 39
Qualification: Ranked No. 6
Previous Solheims: 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000
Record:Foursomes: 2-4-1 Fourball: 2-2-2 Singles: 1-5-0
Total points won: 6.5
One of the all-time great players on the European Tour with 13 victories. Also has three wins from her years on the LPGA Tour. A mad keen soccer supporter - Arsenal is her team - she returns to the side after missing the last two matches. Launched her comeback with a win in last year's Wales Ladies' Championship of Europe.
Carin Koch (Sweden)
Age: 34
Qualification: Captain's wild card
Previous Solheims: 2000, 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 4-0-1 Fourball: 3-1-0 Singles: 1-1-1
Total points won: 9
Was unbeaten through her first two Solheim Cups and is a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour, her second victory coming in this season's Corona Morelia Championship in Mexico in April. First ever victory was in Europe - the 2000 Chrysler Open in her native Sweden. Career has been interrupted by birth of two sons - Oliver (1998) and Simzon (2003). Husband, Stefan, is fellow-Swedish professional.
Ludivine Kreutz (France)
Age: 31
Qualification: Ranked No. 3
Previous Solheims: None
Broke through with a win at the 2003 La Perla Italian Open and secured her Solheim selection with two victories this season - Tenerife Open and OTP Bank Central Ladies' European Open in Hungary. The 1995 French Amateur Champion, she has played on the LET for seven years.
Catriona Matthew (Scotland)
Age: 36
Qualification: Captain's wild card
Previous Solheims: 1998, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 2-1-1 Fourball: 3-2-1 Singles: 1-1-0
Total points won: 4.5
Steady as a rock, she has won four times worldwide Australia, Scotland and twice on the LPGA Tour. Has been one of the highest-ranked LPGA players for the past few years and had the honor of clinching Europe's winning point when she beat Rosie Jones in the singles at the 2003 Solheim at Barseback. Also had a great amateur record - played in three Curtis Cups.
Gwladys Nocera (France)
Age: 30
Qualification: Ranked No. 7
Previous Solheims: None
Has yet to win, but has been one of the most consistent players in Europe over the past couple of years. Has four top tens this year, including outright second place in the Siemens Austrian Open. Spent four years at New Mexico State University and had an impressive amateur record before joining the LET in 2002.
Suzann Pettersen (Norway)
Age: 24
Qualification: Captain's wild card
Previous Solheims: 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 3-1-0 Fourball: 2-0-0 Singles: 0-1-1
Total points won: 5.5
The feisty Norwegian spent six months lying flat on her back with an injury, and only launched her season in June. But produced a string of good results in Europe to clinch a third Solheim cap. A player that gives personality to any team, the surprise is that she has only won once - as a rookie at the 2001 French Open. Now plays mostly on the LPGA Tour.
Annika Sorenstam (Sweden)
Age: 34
Qualification: Ranked No.1
Previous Solheims: 1994, 1996, 1998, 200, 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 9-1-1 Fourball: 4-5-1 Singles: 3-2-1
Total points won: 17.5
Dominated women's golf for the past few years and shows no sign of letting up. Has won seven times - six on the LPGA including two majors (Kraft Nabisco and McDonald's LPGA Championships) and once in Europe at the Scandinavian TPC in Sweden hosted by herself. Has won nine majors, 62 LPGA tournaments and 13 on the LET in a remarkable career. First non-American to gain entry to the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Karen Stupples (England)
Age: 32
Qualification: Captain's wild card
Previous Solheims: None
Winner of two tournaments in 2004, including a major - the Weetabix Women's British Open. Two-time Curtis Cup player from Deal, Karen has played all her professional golf in America and finished a career high of No.6 on the money list last year. This summer, she was laid low by an ear infection, but still merited her Captain's wild card selection.
Iben Tinning (Denmark)
Age: 31
Qualification: Ranked No. 5
Previous Solheims: 2002, 2003
Record: Foursomes: 0-2-1 Fourball: 1-1-0 Singles: 2-0-0
Total points won: 3.5
Won three times this year - Spanish Open, BMW Italian Open and Nykerdit Masters in Denmark on Sunday - and five times in all in Europe. Is three months pregnant, and will take a break after the Solheim but intends to return to the Tour next summer. A huge hitter, she has been one of most consistent players in Europe for the last few years.
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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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    McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

    Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

    The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

    McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.