Inkster to return as 2017 US Solheim Cup captain

Golf ball (Gallo Images)
Golf ball (Gallo Images)

New York - Juli Inkster, who captained the Americans to a comeback victory over Europe at this year's Solheim Cup in Germany, will return to guide the US women's golf squad in 2017, she announced on Friday.

The 55-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer will try to win two in a row when the biennial team match-play competition is played August 18-20, 2017 at Des Moines, Iowa.

The Americans lead Europe 9-5 in the all-time rivalry after a 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 victory last September. Europe led 10-6 entering the last-day singles matches but the visitors rallied to win the closest Solheim Cup in history.

Inkster, a nine-time US Solheim Cup team competitor, rated the trophy grab after two prior losses to Europe among her greatest achievements.

"I have had a lot of exciting and memorable highlights during my time on tour but leading that team of 12 women was one of the biggest thrills of my entire golf career," Inkster said.

"So the answer was easy. And I wanted to have this announced as soon as I could because keeping a secret isn't one of my strengths. I'm thrilled by the challenge of defending the Cup on home soil next summer and can't wait to put on a show in Des Moines."

Inkster becomes just the fourth two-time captain to lead the Americans after Kathy Whitworth (1990, 1992), Judy Rankin (1996, 1998) and Patty Sheehan (2002, 2003).

"Our team's performance in Germany was so inspiring for all of us and was a prime example of the current state of American women's golf," Inkster said.

"I enjoyed the role so much and had such a fun time that it was an easy decision for me to do it again. We have a lot of work ahead to make the experience in Des Moines just as successful and I'm looking forward to the challenge of defending the Cup on home soil."

Inkster won seven major titles among 31 LPGA triumphs. Her 18.5 career Solheim points are the most by any US player.

Her last Solheim Cup appearance came in 2011 in Ireland, when at 51 she became the oldest player in the history of the event.

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