American Solheim Cup team ready to invade Ireland and storm Killeen Castle
All eyes will be on Juli Inkster, the first assistant coach-player in history, but all the pressure will be on captain selections Vicky Hurst and Ryann O’Toole in the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland, Sept. 23-25.
Neither Hurst nor O’Toole has played in the emotional biennial event pitting the best players on the LPGA Tour against the best from the Ladies European Tour. O’Toole, an LGPA Tour rookie who participated on The Golf Channel’s Big Break Sandals Resorts, has played in just seven LPGA tournaments this season, but the UCLA grad sealed the selection by tying for fifth with Hurst at the Safeway Classic over the weekend. O’Toole and Hurst are in just 37th and 38th place, respectively, on the LPGA Tour money list.
Jones made the two picks just after the final round at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, the final event where players could garner points. Hurst and O’Toole join Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Stacy Lewis, Angela Stanford, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, Inkster and Christina Kim. The Americans have won the last three Solheim Cups, and sport an 8-3 record overall since the Solheim launched in 1990.
Even though the European team hasn’t even been finalized, I fully expect the stacked Red, White and Blue team to win again in what should be a great showcase for women’s golf and especially Ireland. I watched the last Solheim Cup on TV and marveled at the shot-making and charisma of the players at Rich Harvest Farms outside of Chicago. The U.S. fans were loud and proud, as energized as any Ryder Cup I’ve seen or experienced. The spirited, educated Irish golf fans should be even more pumped this time around.
I can’t wait to see my first Solheim Cup live. You can, too, by purchasing the Golf Channel’s exclusive Solheim Cup travel package. It includes a five-night stay, an Irish breakfast each morning, tickets to all three days of action, plus the practice round, and transfers to the course.
Savvy travelers will find time to sneak in a little golf on the side. You can’t visit Dublin and not spend a day or two on the city’s great links – Portmarnock’s Old course, Portmarnock Links, County Louth, The Island and Royal Dublin.
Those who can’t make the trek to the Emerald Isle can stay glued to the Golf Channel, which will televise more than 27 hours of live match-play competition. The three days of match play will be covered from the moment the first pair tees off until the last putt drops – more than 10 consecutive hours of live coverage on Friday and Saturday and six hours on Sunday. Each round will be replayed in prime time as a three-hour highlight special. Coverage of the 2011 Solheim Cup begins Friday, Sept. 23 at 2 a.m. ET.
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