Notes Victory May Signal Change Pregnant Pair

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2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- Juli Inkster, Beth Daniel, Meg Mallon and Michele Redman walked up the 18th fairway Sunday savoring the precious moments they had left with teammate Rosie Jones.
 
Jones, 45, has been a staple of women's golf for nearly two decades and has already acknowledged this would be her last Solheim Cup. Some of Jones' 40-something teammates may join her on the sideline when the 2007 event returns to Sweden.
 
Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon
This could possibly be the last Solheim Cup for LPGA legends Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon.
``I would say this is probably my last Solheim Cup, being that I'm almost 49,'' said Daniel, an eight-time U.S. team member. ``I think it's going to be pretty hard for me to make it at 50.''

The futures of the others are uncertain.
 
Redman, 40, has been on the last four cup teams and scored a major victory Saturday in the final alternate-shot match that gave the U.S. a 6-6 tie at the midway point. But she hasn't won a tour title since 2000.
 
Inkster, 45, is a Hall of Famer with little left to prove and has four wins since 2000 but none in the past two years.
 
Mallon, too, has been a regular in the international competition, playing on eight teams. She has sunk two championship-clinching putts, including Sunday's, and lost one match that clinched a European victory.
 
But how much longer can the old-timers stay competitive with America's young stars, who blossomed this weekend?
 
``They are the future of the LPGA Tour,'' captain Nancy Lopez said shortly after clinching Sunday's victory.
 
One 40-something who didn't mince words about her future was England's Laura Davies.
 
``I think I'm playing well, and I think I can score enough points,'' said the big hitting 41-year-old. ``If I don't, I'll have to beg the captain for a pick. I'm not above begging, you know.''
 
HOME, SWEET, HOME:
The Americans credited the large galleries and boisterous fans for helping them bring back the cup Sunday.
 
Over the three-day event, fans chanted and roared when players urged them to get louder. On Sunday, they didn't need much help. Around the course, the songs and chants that started at the first tee followed the players to the holes they played.
 
It was the kind of home-course advantage the Europeans expected and the Americans wanted. Europe has never won on American soil.
 
``I think we all knew that was going to be the case coming in,'' Annika Sorenstam said. ``That's what makes this so great.''
 
But what got the fans really involved was the cheerleading. When Christina Kim finished her match she led the fans in chants of ``U-S-A!'' and ``Red, white, blue!'' and even got the crowd to start chanting players' names as they walked the fairway.
 
Kim also carried an American flag on the final few holes.
 
``I told the girls I've won the majors, I have been inducted in the Hall of Fame, but this was the most fun week I have ever had,'' American assistant captain Donna Caponi said.
 

PREGNANT PAIR:
The day's fourth pairing, Laura Diaz against Denmark's Iben Tinning, was believed to be the first Solheim Cup match between two expectant mothers.
 
Diaz, 30, is five months pregnant and Nancy Lopez took some precautions to prevent health problems. She limited Diaz to just one match a day, in the morning when the weather was cooler.
 
European captain Catrin Nilsmark also was worried about Tinning, who played in the afternoon Friday and Saturday so she could rest.
 
But the maternity match proved one-sided. Diaz won 6-and-5.
 
``I never had any problems with the heat,'' Diaz said. ``My baby was giving me the thumbs up all day.''
 

THE WINNER:
Sweden's Annika Sorenstam may not have played her typical game this weekend. She drove a tee shot into the water Saturday, had to hit from behind a tree Sunday and occasionally found herself in sand and rough.
 
But she still delivered the usual results.
 
Sorenstam went 4-1 over the three days and even gave the Europeans hope when things looked bleak Sunday after a poor start. By scoring four points, the world's best woman golfer was also the week's biggest individual winner, and her 20th victory in this event broke the tie she shared with Laura Davies.
 
It wasn't enough to satisfy Sorenstam's competitive spirit.
 
``I'm just looking forward to two years,'' she said. ``We're going to get the cup back, that's all I can say.''
 

THE LOSER:
Wendy Ward was the only American player who failed to win a point this weekend, the second straight time she's gone winless.
 
Ward lost all three of her matches at Crooked Stick, leaving her with seven straight Solheim Cup losses dating to 2003. She was 0-4 in Sweden and is now 2-9-1 all-time in three cup appearances. But she has been on two winning teams.
 

NEW DIRECTION:
When Norway's Suzann Pettersen conceded on the 18th for a halve, it was the start of a new direction for American women's golf.
 
LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Voltaw had already announced he would retire after the Solheim Cup ended. Carolyn Bivens now becomes the seventh commissioner in tour history -- and the first woman to hold the post -- after Voltaw's 6 1/2 -year reign.
 
DIVOTS:
The American team celebrated three times, the last by the crowd in a rendition of ``God Bless America.'' ... America's three-point victory tied the Solheim Cup record for smallest victory margin. The Europeans won 14 1/2 to 11 1/2 in 2000 and the U.S. won 15 1/2 to 12 1/2 in 2002. ... Only once in cup history has the visiting team won. The Americans won 17-11 in Wales in 1996.
 
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