U.S. Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones may want to see if she can coax Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon out of retirement. With the American team finalized Sunday at the conclusion of the Safeway Classic, Jones is searching for a couple players worthy of her two captain’s picks.
While it says a lot about Juli Inkster that at 51 she has locked up a spot on the American team, it also says something about the lack of depth among U.S. players.
Inkster’s among nine players who’ve clinched roster spots on points. Christina Kim is holding the 10th and final automatic qualifying spot but could be bumped with No. 11 Katie Futcher, No. 12 Kristy McPherson and No. 13 Vicky Hurst having chances to pass her.
Jones is looking at a captain’s pick list littered with players giving her more reasons to pass on them than pick them:
Christina Kim: With a strong 5-2-1 Solheim Cup record, Kim, 27, is a logical choice as a captain’s pick if she fails to make the team on points. Still, Kim’s struggling of late. She hasn’t earned a Solheim Cup point in three months, has missed the cut in three of her last four LPGA starts and missed the cuts in all four majors this year.
Katie Futcher: The only player outside the top 10 in points making any Solheim Cup push, Futcher, 30, closed with an impressive 64 at the Ricoh Women’s British Open to tie for 14th. Futcher tied for third at the Kraft Nabisco, tied for 14th at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, but she’s never won an LPGA event and would be making a daunting Solheim Cup debut on the road.
Kristy McPherson: It’s been almost five months since McPherson, 30, has tallied a Solheim Cup point. She has no top 10s this year and missed the cut in two of July’s three big events. McPherson has Solheim Cup experience, going 1-3 in the American victory at Rich Harvest Farms in ‘09.
Vicky Hurst: Traveling to the Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle in Ireland two weeks ago was commendable, but Hurst, 21, missed the cut playing at the site of next month’s Solheim Cup. Hurst has no top-10 finishes this year and has missed three of her last five cuts.
Wendy Ward: A seventh-place finish at the LPGA State Farm Classic in June is Ward’s only top-10 finish this year. A four-time LPGA winner, Ward, 38, has played in three Solheim Cups, none since ’05, sporting a 2-8-1 record.
Pat Hurst: Tying for eighth at the LPGA Championship made an impression, but Hurst, 42, had four straight missed cuts leading into that event and missed the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open after her strong finish. The six-time LPGA winner is 10-7-3 in five Solheim Cups but didn’t make the ’09 team.
Natalie Gulbis: Battling back injuries, Gulbis, 28, hasn’t recorded a top-10 finish in more than two years, since the Michelob Ultra Open in ’09. Gulbis has a solid 5-4-1 record in three Solheim Cup appearances.