RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Is Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann poised to return as the European Solheim Cup captain?
Neumann, who made history leading the Europeans to their first victory on American soil last year, is at the Kraft Nabisco Championship this week, visiting with players and watching the action at Mission Hills. She lives here in Rancho Mirage.
The Ladies European Tour is scheduled Friday to announce the Euro Solheim Cup captain for the matches next year at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club in Germany. When GolfChannel.com asked Neumann directly Saturday morning if she was going to return to lead the Euros again in 2015, she smiled politely and shrugged her shoulders.
“I can’t say,” Neumann said.
While it might be Annika Sorenstam’s job when she's ready, there's still a question of whether the timing's right for her. She’s immersed in her business interests and raising a 4-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. She was a vice captain for Neumann last year.
Neumann, 47, didn’t just lead the Euros to their breakthrough title on American soil at Colorado Golf Club last year. She helped them win the most lopsided rout in Solheim Cup history. It makes sense she would return, given what a huge hit she was in the role and given how the Euros like to bring their captains back. Since the biennial competition was first staged in 1990, Europe has had just seven captains. Four have served in multiple competitions. Mickey Walker, who captained the first European team, was brought back three times as captain. Dale Reid served in back-to-back competitions. So did Catrin Nilsmark and Alison Nicholas.
Neumann, who became the first Swede to win a major when she claimed the U.S. Women’s Open in 1988, says she’s still enjoying congratulatory words from players and fans at Mission Hills this week.
“A lot of people are recognizing me and saying `Hey, good job at the Solheim,’ even a lot of Americans, which is nice,” Neumman said.
Neumann said last summer’s victory in Colorado ranked among the greatest thrills of her career. She said she will never forget what it felt like when players on her team lifted her up on their shoulders in the immediate aftermath of the victory.
“It was probably one of the happiest moments of my life,” Neumann said.