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Jones to captain U.S. at 2011 Solheim Cup
Photo by Associated Press
Rosie Jones at the 2005 Solheim Cup at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
By Beth Ann Baldry
February 24, 2010 10:44 a.m.
Rosie Jones has been chosen as the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup captain, the LPGA announced Wednesday.
The news came as a bit of a surprise to the retired tour player, who received a phone call from LPGA commissioner Mike Whan several weeks ago.
“I knew I was a good candidate for the Solheim Cup captaincy, but hadn’t heard any conversations in my direction,” Jones said. She was in her home office in Atlanta when she got the news, gazing across the room at a picture of her and Patty Sheehan at the inaugural Solheim Cup in 1990.
“I was so excited and stunned that I asked him to repeat it.”
The 12th staging of the Solheim Cup will take place Sept. 23-25, 2011, at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland.
“Rosie Jones is a terrific choice to lead the American team at the 2011 Solheim Cup in Ireland,” said John Solheim, Ping chairman and CEO. “Her Solheim Cup experience provides her tremendous insight into team dynamics and what it takes to get the most out of every player.”
Jones, a seven-time Solheim Cup participant, retired from the tour three years ago after a 25-year career. She won eight times on the LPGA and ranks 11th in all-time career earnings, with $8,355,068. Jones has an 11-9-2 Solheim Cup record.
Natalie Gulbis, three-time Solheim Cup participant, played her first Solheim in 2005 at Crooked Stick, which also was Jones’ last Cup as a player.
“It’s exciting because I think Rosie is a perfect example of everything the Solheim Cup represents. A great player, a ton of enthusiasm, a lot of energy,” Gulbis said. “I remember my first Solheim Cup with Rosie Jones and just how excited she was and I couldn’t wait to get back into a team meeting with her and hear her stories. And the putt that she made at Crooked Stick is one of the most memorable Solheim Cup moments that I had ever seen.”
Christina Kim, two-time Solheim participant, said Jones will be a huge boost for the U.S.
“Rosie is a bulldog,” Kim said. “She’s one of the most fearless and ruthless match-play competitors of all time. I think she will be an inspiration as a captain.”
In 2007, the Americans won on foreign soil for only the second time in Solheim Cup history. Betsy King led the American contingent in Sweden, where Jones was on hand as a commentator for Golf Channel.
“Any time you’re traveling overseas, you’re considered an underdog,” she said.
Jones was impressed with the way Beth Daniel handled Michelle Wie’s Solheim debut last fall and looks forward to watching Wie blossom even more in Ireland, should she make the team.
In the meantime, she plans to scout out the talent at the year’s first two majors, as well as at the tour stops in Alabama.
She said her list of possible assistant captains is long. Jones competes on the Legends Tour when she’s not at an outing for her company, Rosie Jones Golf Getaways. Considered one of the tour’s best putters in her prime, Jones never lacked emotion.
“Since I’ve been off the golf course, I’ve probably lost a little bit of that edge,” she said. “But being around the girls and watching tournament golf in person, I’m going to be handling the team with as much motivation and zest and discipline that I played with.”