Sorenstam confirmed Tuesday that she has submitted her name to the Ladies European Tour selection committee for consideration.
“I would love to be the European Solheim Cup captain and 2017 has been my goal for years,” Sorenstam said. “We officially put my name in, and we’ll see what happens.”
If the LET names Sorenstam – it would be a stunner if it doesn’t – that will set up a dynamic pairing of captains at Des Moines (Iowa) Golf & Country Club in August of 2017.
Sorenstam vs. Juli Inkster.
Nobody has won more matches for Europe than Sorenstam in Solheim Cup history and nobody has won more for the Americans than Inkster. Sorenstam’s 22 matches won equal Laura Davies for most on the Euro side. Inkster’s 15 are most on the American side.
Sorenstam has played in eight Solheim Cups, Inkster in nine. They played six of them together but only went head-to-head twice in matches, with Inkster winning both times, a fourball match in 2004 and a singles match in 2000.
Inkster, 55, led the Americans to a record comeback in Germany last year while Sorenstam, 45, served as an assistant captain for Europe in the last three Solheim Cups. They’re intense competitors comfortable on big stages. Sorenstam won 72 LPGA titles, 10 major championships. Inkster has won 31 LPGA titles, seven majors.
Sorenstam and Inkster in an animated discussion during the 2015 Solheim Cup (Getty)
Sorenstam knows the tense, emotional nature of the Solheim Cup more than anyone, having found herself amid some of the most intense and delicate showdowns in the cup’s history. Back in 2000 at Loch Lomond, Sorenstam holed a 25-foot chip shot that appeared to halve a fourball match against Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst. Because Sorenstam wasn’t actually away, the Americans made Sorenstam replay the shot, creating a furor in the European ranks that left the tough-minded Sorenstam in tears. Last year, Sorenstam huddled with Suzann Pettersen off the 18th green in Germany after the “Gimmegate” controversy there, after Pettersen won a fourball match holding American Alison Lee to the letter of the law after Lee scooped up her putt at the 17th hole thinking the Europeans conceded it. Pettersen said Sorenstam foresaw the backlash coming and tried to make Pettersen understand the hostility she would face if she held Lee to the rule. Sorenstam also was suspected by the Americans of giving advice to players outside the captain’s agreement in Germany but insisted she was “falsely accused.” A similar incident arose in Colorado two years earlier.
Sorenstam is the greatest European women’s player ever. Her 72 LPGA titles rank behind only Kathy Whitworth (88) and Mickey Wright (82). Her 10 major championship titles rank behind only Patty Berg (15), Wright (13) and Louise Suggs (11).