This is the final week before the Solheim Cup! Everything is in place in Ireland, Team USA has been finalized and all the details that go into the final weeks of the Cup have been attended to. Now, with our strategy in hand and a little luck in weather, we are ready to go to Ireland on our chartered flight Sunday night following the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama!
The perfect plan is always hoped for, but you always know that there will be something that changes and the best attitude is to be prepared for that, adjust and carry on. That’s the way we have learned to play professional golf, those of us that are most successful use that strategy in life and this will definitely something I will be practicing there at The Solheim Cup.
The nice thing about being Captain is that you have your finger in just about every facet of the event, but do not have to implement the operation or oversea the progress of each project. I am extremely lucky to have a very passionate staff at the LPGA who are doing that for Team USA. As I speak there are three staff members over in Ireland getting the players bedrooms and team rooms decorated for the event, getting the players clothing in designated rooms, and making sure that our security, team needs and meals are being attended to. And then of course there are three more on this end making sure the players are set for their charter flight on Sunday night, setting up media opportunities and making sure all is ready to go to the most exciting event of the year.
No easy job as they had to ship a huge amount of decorations a month ago to assure the delivery on time. Plus setting everything up is a huge task when you are moving entire rooms and buildings out to move us in for the duration. This is a big undertaking that most of the players never realize as they are making their own last minute preparations with their swing and game leading up to the send off in Prattville.
Making the Picks
Finally the cut off date came August 21st of last month at the Safeway Classic in Portland OR, and the weeks, days and even hours leading up to the cut off were maybe the hardest I have ever encountered.
My recipe for my picks went like this: I wanted to honor the point list and bring in the player who over the last two years was making the points but not quite there in the top-10. There was a race for those spots and Vicky Hurst was able to jump into 11th on the final hour that Sunday in Portland. My second spot I wanted to go to the player who was playing the best and finishing high under some pressure in the last several recent tournaments. And because I had such a great foundation of nine returning players, it wasn’t out of my reach to pick a new player who was stepping up to the plate also at this final hour showing me some talent under the pressure of the cut off. My second pick was Ryann O’Toole.
Keeping a very studious account of each player over the last two years was how I kept in tune with who I thought the best players for my picks should be. As the weeks of the summer passed, very little movement on the Solheim Cup point list happened for those players 10 – 15. Although I had some players having some good finishes this year they were also showing signs of stress by missing a few cuts as the cutoff became closer. It really came down to what do I need (Game, Personality, Dynamics) for Ireland now for this Solheim Cup.
Practice Session: So the following week after the team was named, Team USA met officially for the first time as a team at Royal Montreal Golf Club the Sunday night after the CN Canadian Women’s Open. The team was on a high because Brittany Lincicome just won her second event for 2011 and there was a lot of buzz as the players were anticipating who their pairings might be and to finally assemble as Team USA!
Send Off at Navastar: Our final step in our journey to The Solheim Cup will be this Sunday as Team USA and some players from Europe, our caddies, staff, and family members board the hired Miami Heat Charter to fly us over to Dublin Ireland where we will begin our week with the excitement of the event representing our Country in the most exciting women’s team competition ever. The Solheim Cup!
The motivational video’s and speeches, meal planning, and gifting will all come to fruition and it’s exciting for me to be leading these so very talented players into this week of exhilarating competition. I know we have a great team and with the help of my Assistant Captain’s Sherri Steinhauer and Juli Inkster we feel we have a fantastic line up for the matches and we are confident that our players will be stepping up to the plate with their game on, when the bell finally rings.
See you on the Golf Channel everybody!
Relax But Attack! Gooooo USA!
Rosie Jones - Captain RoJo
Final Week of Solheim Cup Points
For two years since I was named Captain of the U.S. Team I have always imagined that the last couple weeks leading up to the points cut off would play its self out and that the two most deserving players would stick out like a sore thumb, making the picks for Team USA a given. Not so clear yet, and now when I recall previous conversations with almost every past Captain, I’m reminded that this is going to be the hardest part of the job.
Team made up of top-10 from Solheim Cup points and two captain's picks.
as of 7/31/2011
Given the experience I have had from my seven Solheim Cup teams, I know how hard it is for those players on the bubble or just below the cut line. There are opportunities out there that you know you can achieve, it’s just a matter of doing it, and doing it when the pressure is on. This is probably the hardest part of making the team, because leading up to this moment, you always had the confidence that you would be beyond this point and securely in the top-10. But if you are not, the pressure to produce is extremely difficult and the stress is almost unbearable. Nobody can really imagine what is going through a players head at this time. Nobody, but a Solheim Sister!
I remember back when I was trying to make the team in 1998. I had a good two years, but I was on the bubble and time was running out. Knowing that my pick was on the line, I too felt the heavy weight of pressure as I missed the last two cuts (Canada and State Farm) before the cutoff. Knowing there was no way I was going to be picked, I avoided Captain Judy Rankin as she approached me on the putting green after play. She grabbed me by the arm, pulled me up off my bag and asked me to go walk with her. Reluctant to hear those words, I was surprised when she told me to go get my game ready she needed my putter and my heart for the team at The Solheim Cup.
It was right there when I realized it means more than your score to be a good player, a good teammate, or a productive member of the team. It takes passion, leadership and commitment to the common goal of bringing home the Cup. And that can only happen when you have 12 players that are ready to give it all they have, to put their heart out there on the line for each other, their Captain and their Country!
So I will use that thought, those emotions and those memories as I go through the process and sift through the stats, scores and tournament finishes. I’m checking out every imaginable part of their game as I look for those two perfect players who will complete on Team USA. And having all that in front of me, it will be in Portland, where it very well may be their heart that brings them up to the finish line. That invisible level of humanity that needs to be displayed and shared when you want play for The Solheim Cup and Team USA!
Good Luck to all my USA players. I’m rooting for all of them!
June 7, 2011
With the LPGA Tour having several weeks off in the schedule the past month, progress with Team USA looks like it has been at a bit slow on the surface, but in reality behind the scenes, the action is turning into full gear as the Solheim Cup is now only 107 days away.
It's All in the Details….. It's easy to suddenly find myself a bit overwhelmed with the amount of attention The Solheim Cup takes when I think of all that remains in the preparation of our week there in Ireland. Every little detail is important when you are planning for an event like this, so for me, getting finished with the fluff part of the week (clothing, gifting, food and decorations) is my top priority at the moment. Not to mention the inspirational quotes, team music, speeches and keeping up with player's performance, tweeting, facebooking ect.
Even though we finalized our Player Uniforms with Antigua and Sunice some time ago, last month we touched on clothing for the Caddies, Helpers, and Past Captains. We want to make sure they all look good in their Team USA shirts, hats and jackets. Of course the LPGA takes on the burden of the actual operation and ordering the Teams clothing, the travel and schedule, but when it comes to the decisions concerning the team, I'm hands on with the details and preparations. Experience reminds me and I'll always believe that success is in the details. Now, only our Opening Ceremony outfits are left to figure out. Oh Boy!
Sweet 16 Practice Session!
The Fun part of my job as Captain is starting to get exciting as we brought the Top 16 Solheim Cup point earners together for our domestic practice session. Since we will not be going to Killeen Castle before the Solheim Cup in September to practice there on the tournament course, my Assistant Captains and I looked for a fitting venue to host a Team USA bonding session. Lucky have it, Sherri Steinhauer has connections with a member at Pine Valley in New Jersey and they were thrilled to host Team USA for a night of dinner, fun and games as well as a fantastic round of golf on Monday morning.
We've Come a Long Way Baby… Women have been breaking barriers for hundreds of years and this was one of those momentous events that even Pine Valley felt was special as Team USA were the first women to ever stay the night on property in "The Dorms." More like a private plush lodge with everyone having their own suite, the players were given every privilege and perfect hospitality as we enjoyed dinner in the boardroom and two other wonderful meals in the clubhouse.
Knowing the strict rules and regulations as far as females playing Pine Valley, I was reminded of a story about how Jack Nicklaus showed up to play a practice round at Pine Valley for the Walker Cup and his wife Barbara was not allowed any where near the premises. So in retrospect, many thanks to Pine Valley GM and Golf Director Charlie Raudenbush, Club President Jim Davis and member Russ Meyer who were all perfect hosts and for helping to make this as exciting and memorable event for all who attended. It was only fitting to give them a bottle of Champaign signed by all the players commemorating our "Sweet 16 Practice Session" donated by Mike Doyle at Pleasant Valley Wine Co, in NY.
Not one to give away all my secrets, we had a great time at dinner where I was able to speak to the players and give them my thoughts about the upcoming months and how our team was shaping up. Using a couple of motivational videos my hope was to inspire some of the young players looking to make their first Solheim Cup as well as motivate those on the bubble looking to make more points in the next several tournaments. It was a great chance for me to visit with players, spend time with them off of the golf course as well as have them interact with one another in some friendly competitive Minute to Win it Games! And it was Competitive!
And then of course there was the Golf at Pine Valley! Whatever I say here will not give it justice for the golf course which was in perfect shape and the conditions were absolutely awesome while the best women golfers our country has to offer teed it up on that Monday morning on America's # 1 golf course. Watching my players paired up in specific groupings was as much of a treat for me as it was for them to play. Lots of laughs and good golf shots were played as my strategy going into the summer starts to emerge with my sights on Ireland. Thanks again to AB Golf Design for the USA Boxing Glove Head Covers donated to the players. It was fun to see them propped up on a couple of player's bags getting into the spirit of "Go Team USA!"
Now, the excitement continues to grow as we watch the next couple months unfold on the LPGA schedule with three major championships and only five events total to rack up their points. Already as I track the players performance I'm starting to see the trends in who and what will make the difference on building the best possible team for September.
Big Win For Lincicome….. Having already a great performance year in 2011 Brittany Lincicome rose to the top in Atlantic City last week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic as she birdied the last hole of the tournament to win over Jiyai Shin and Cristie Kerr. Cristie remained at the top of the Solheim Cup list with 582 points and Brittany gaind 60 points and jumped up to No. 6 on the Solheim Cup list giving her some breathing room as the Tour heads into the majors these next two months. Points will be up for grabs since Major Championships will be worth double points. Check out the entire list by clicking here….
Stay tuned this weekend at the LPGA State Farm Classic in Springfield IL. Happens to be the same town I won my first event in many, many years ago.
More to come……
March Madness on the LPGA started with the 2011 domestic swing at the newly formed RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix AZ to the Kia Classic in LA, then on to the First Major Championship, The Kraft Nabisco Championship in Palm Springs, CA!
The LPGA got things started as they hosted the The RR Donnelly's Founders Cup in Phoenix, AZ, a new and exciting tournament honoring the Founders of the LPGA and giving the LPGA and players the opportunity to give back to the future of the sport by raising over a $1 million for several charities close to their heart as well as key organizations aimed to benefit those Junior Golfers in America. At the top of the leader board were many great Americans as they fought their way against Hall of Fame Member Karrie Webb to claim all the status, points, and glory, but not the money. All proceeds went to their favorite charities including those in need from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Next up for the Tour and sometimes a special motivator for those players in line for the Solheim Cup was the Kia Classic where both Antigua and Sunice were on site to take measurements and sizes of the top-20 U.S. point makers. This in its self is pretty exciting for those experienced players getting an early look at our 2011 outfits, but especially for those players still out there on the bubble. This little task of trying on clothes is just the little reminder and/or kick in the butt, that the Solheim Cup is only five and a half months away and they need to get busy and make some points.
Later that weekend, several players U.S. players stacked up nicely going into Sunday's final round, but the big winner of the week was Germany's Sandra Gal who took home the trophy. The big question as sports reporters gathered that following Monday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship was, "how does Europe's Captain Alison Nicholas find a way to bring Sandra Gal into the mix since she was not officially a member of the European Tour?" Rumor is she will be in the running for Team Europe since they have a couple of special clauses for exceptional performance in the rules that would allow the LET to invite Sandra Gal onto automatic membership for this year's tour. Actually, I was surprised she wasn't a member of the LET but of course welcome any justifiable and worthy player to the opportunity. I feel Alison should be able to build her team any way she can with in the rules of their organization and The Solheim Cup.
So, on to Palm Springs and nothing beats playing at the Kraft Nabisco Championship for the first LPGA Major Championship at the most beautiful course of the year; Mission Hills, Rancho Mirage. Just a reminder: Major Championships are always worth double points and this being Solheim Cup year, the points are bloated to award good play coming into the event. The week started out unseasonably hot so I was certainly getting lots of use out of my Peak Vision Sunglasses as I followed several of my U.S. Players the first two days of the tournament. Funny how time flies when there is lots to catch up with players on the practice tee, as well as those couple of appointments I had with friends of Team USA helping us with the details of the big dance in September. I'm just glad I'm retired from the LPGA and now playing on the Legends Tour, because this baby is starting to heat up. Thanks for the enthusiasm I share with Sheex and The Orange Whip and their generosity towards Team USA as it comes down to the final countdown in August.
Who would have thought Stacy Lewis would make her big debut in the winner circle that week taking on # 1 in the world Yani Tseng as the tournament unfolded on Sunday. I'm thinking Stacy is a pretty solid 5th spot point holder on the SC list. Pretty Cool! Great win Stacy!
Stacy wasn't the only story of the week, as eight more Americans were in the mix going into Sunday and watching it all unfold was pretty fun and heart wrenching as the players made their way around the back nine. Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie turned some gut wrenching holes into learning lessons for the bold and patient player. US veteran Angela Stanford carded 68 to finish T3 to strengthen her position and young player Katie Future made her big splash although not in the pond as she finished her career best T3 with a fantastic round of 68, pushing her in to the top 15 in Solheim Cup points.
All this fantastic golf plus, a good sit down with both of my Assistants Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer made for a great week. We plotted our way for the next couple of months. We also want to see how fast we can nail Top Solheim Cup point maker and Hall Of Fame Member Juli Inkster down to saying Yes to playing her 9th Solheim Cup in Ireland. Word is still up in the air, don't ask, we have plenty of time to see. Ha ha! Juli has a plan, let's watch it pan out. That's my take, I'm sticking to it. You should too. It's working!
Next up: "Sweet 16 Practice Session At Pine Valley"
Next Month is our first Team USA Domestic Practice Session at Pine Valley Country Club in New Jersey!
Stay tuned as we give you all the up dates to Team USA as we head into the final five months to Ireland!
That's it for now, Relax but Attack!
Go Team USA!
It's been exactly one year since I was named 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup Captain and the truth of this experience is that there is not a better more exciting job or role I will ever have again.
Captain, means many things especially when I look back to the many different hats I am wearing with this title. In the beginning, I don't think I realized how much an influence the Solheim Cup Captain has in the preperations of the event. I have somehow become Event Planner, Fashion Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Promoter, Music and Video expert, Team Strategizing Agent, Sports Psychologist and Professional Shopper. And I'm sure there will be more hats to wear as we get closer to The Solheim Cup in September.
With my recent trip to the 2011 PGA Show, I was able to meet with Antigua, Imperial Head Wear and Sunice our Rain Gear company's to go over last minute details of the design and fit of the Players Uniforms. Really great stuff as I was able to meet with those top designers and make specific changes and additions that will really enhance Team USA's feel and look as we take the Tee.
Every single day is or at least a part of it is put aside to work on a special aspect of the Solheim Cup. A lot of our attention has been on our schedule this year and what we will be doing to bring our players together in a way that we feel like a team when we get to Ireland. We have some really super cool plans for our Practice Sessions over the course of the summer which will help us out a lot.
Speaking of my players, I can't tell you how proud I was of their play last year. If I was to look at the line up at the end of the year, I would say this USA line up is stacked pretty much how I thought or hoped it would. Cristie Kerr finishing the year ranked 3rd in the Rolex Rankings topped our list with 441 points. And just behind her are Solheim Cup regulars, Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, Angela Stanford, and Paula Creamer who all had stellar years and right where you would expect them.
Working the middle of the pack are Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang both long and strong off the tee, had goods showing in 2010 and will have to continue their good play to maintain their positions.
Young talent but solid player Stacy Lewis is working her way into the top-10 with consistent play last year and hoping to earn her first spot on this year's team. U.S. firecracker Christina Kim is rounding out the top-10 with fighter Kristy McPherson. Both players have played in recent Solheim Cups and say in almost every interview they give how important and how bad they want to play in the next Solheim Cup.
Big Fun, but no surprise is my Assistant Captain, Juli Inkster hanging around the top-12 with 3rd year pro Vicky Hurst, and many top Solheim Cup veterans in perfect position to make their move with points going into this spring's competition.The Big Fun Question is: Will Juli Inkster play her 9th Solheim Cup as an Assistant Captain?
The 2011 point system moves to amplified points worth 1 ½ points with a win at 60 points. Of course Majors are worth double again, which means if you play well in those you'll be making huge points.
This should give us a lot of excitement as we watch our players start the season in Asia next week. Being Solheim Cup year, the pressure is on and players are feeling the pressure between them to make the points each and every week. Of course their main objective is to win tournaments, but if you are not in contention, the next priority is to make the points.
Knowing that we only have 224 days until the first ball will rifle off the clubface to the fairway of Killeen Castle #1, it is my intent to make the most of every advantage this team can have. My entire Team USA, those at the LPGA, and those near and far to me are in high gear looking at every detail for the week of Sept. 19 - 25. Another huge part of my Team USA will be our Fans! We need as many fans over there, so come on over to Ireland with us and support our players as we battle for the most Coveted Cup in Women's Professional Golf Team Competition. The Solheim Cup!
With that said we still have to play our ball, and that will come down to the players and how we perform when the bell rings in Ireland on Friday September 23rd, 2011!
Until Next Time, Relax But Attack!
Go USA! Captain RoJo
This is a Poem I wrote for my players for the Holiday Season! Hope you enjoy!
The year is finally over for the LPGA Tour, it's time to put the sticks away, you know that's for sure. The travel was hard and your games were on top, now it's time to give it a little rest, find a mall, and start to shop.
You all started in Asia with gusto and fame, it was in Singapore I think that your captain was named. The news hit the stands and hurrah's came my way, a proud moment for me to lead my players in the Solheim Cup to play.
I jumped in the air and started to giggle and squirm, I thought it might go to Inkster or Mallon, but the decision was firm. So I gathered my memories and thoughts of my Solheim's of seven, to help give me the wisdom and grace to lead you in Twenty - 11.
My first task at hand was to select my assistants; my two easy picks were met with out any resistance. Juli is the glue that will keep our team so very strong, Sherri is into detail, so you know nothing can go wrong. A good solid trio and we all play a part; it's been a lot of fun and a damn good start.
The summer went fast you all played without fear, us Captains dealt with future locker rooms, our uniforms, and raingear! Our digs will be awesome, our Antigua clothing has no tweed, you won't have to worry about getting wet, Sunice has guaranteed.
I know you all wonder what color we will wear, is it purple or pastel, No, believe me I wouldn't dare. No need to even ask me what color they will be, everybody knows it's red, white and blue that I bleed.
It's been a good race to make your Solheim Points each week, they have come so fast and many, that my notes need a tweak. Next year they will change for each one is now worth one and a half, majors are double, good luck, no laugh.
With the cup safe at home in USA hands, we now have our sites on defending in the green fairways of Ireland. The course will be long, tricky and tough, but nothing we can't handle, just stay out of the rough.
Europe will be determined and we know the burden they have felt, fore we have the past 3 Solheim's under our belt.You have seen me on the fairways with my backpack and glasses; next year will be the same as I plot to kick their asses.
Your golf was fantastic from week to week, there were many times I thought, this is gonna be sweet. You all played with great talent and your caddies were loud, as for my first year as Captain I couldn't be more proud.
Truly an honor for me to be your leader this upcoming September, I have the advice of many past Captains to cherish and remember. The passion and pride that comes with this role, is much like I played golf, with determination and fire in my soul.
So remember as you rest and get ready for next year, work hard on your goals and your heart will hear. The Solheim Cup is one of the best, if not the hardest, most ultimate test.
Good Luck, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and Ho Ho!
Thank you for this pleasure, see you later
End of the Year
Being Captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team has proven to be very exciting this year as I made my final visit to the season ending LPGA Tour Championship in Orlando last week. Lots to catch up with the players and staff since this will be the last tournament of the year and players will be in off season mode for the next several weeks as they all enjoy the Holiday Season and then gear up for year 2011.
This was a good event for me to attend since all the top U.S. players were there looking to better their position in many category's on the treacherous Grand Cypress layout just outside of Disney World. The weather turned to cool with windy conditions making the course very hard to score on with drastic greens proving hard to master. I have to brag a bit about how well our American players played, but the big congrats to Sweden's Maria Hjorth for her great play to capture the title.
Player of the Year
It was fun to watch the top 5 players on tour battle it out those past weeks for Play of the Year award and Vare Trophy as the results all came down to the final round and to whether Cristie Kerr could pull off a win to capture both honors. After watching the top honor trade like baseball cards the past 3 months, the final congrats go to Yani Tseng. I guess we'll have to wait another year to see if the POY award will come home to an American player as C. Kerr just missed out with a brave attempt finishing Tied for 3rd place finish.
Lots of good golf and plenty of points being made, but not a lot of movement on the 2011 Solheim Cup point standings these past couple of weeks as the tour ends it's year long plus qualifying. Cristie Kerr leads the American squad with 441 points with Morgan Pressel in second place at 239 and Michelle Wie in third at 223. Team USA has got a good strong line up of experienced players in the top 10 with a good mix of young players looking for their first experience of Solheim Competition and Veterans' holding their own within the top 15 spots.
Even though I have been watching the points pretty closely these past several months, this is when the players themselves start to keep a keen eye on what is going on as well. I expect next year will be quite the shoot out as points are worth 1 ½ times during Solheim Cup year. Example: a Win is 60 points, double for Majors. This will favor hot play in 2011, and give a player the ability to make a pretty good move up the roster.
Captain RoJo Wins
One of the great things about being Captain is that even though it sometimes feels like a full time job, it still allows me the opportunity to be competitive on the Legends Tour (Official Senior Tour of the LPGA). Last month I teed it up with some great former players of the LPGA including past Captains Beth Daniel, Patty Sheehan, Pat Bradley and current players on the LPGA tour like Michelle Redman and Lori Kane at the Legends Tour Championship on the Island Course at Innisbrook FL.
With a two day total of -9, I was hoisting the trophy for my first Major Win and my fourth title in 4 years as a senior player on the tour. It was a fun week and a good experience for me as all those competitive juices come back to me and keep me on my toes and in touch with what my Solheim Players are going through week in and week out.
As the Holiday Season is in full swing this is the time players wind down from the busy Tour Life and the crazy travel schedule that can take its toll over the entire year. It's a good time to relax and enjoy their life at home, revitalize the body, rest and balance out their time for family and friends. It won't be long before the sticks come back out of the trunk and the grind starts back up with new goals and expectations.
I have to admit this year was a good year to be Captain of the American team. I couldn't be more proud of all of them as so many players found success on both the LPGA as well in European and Asian tournaments overseas in non-official events. We got a good foundation going into 2011 and I look forward to watching with earnest as it all comes down to the final weeks leading into the competition.
I look forward to the New Year where I will be working more from home finalizing some details on the many pieces of my responsibilities regarding the Solheim Cup next September. So much to do and as of today, I have only 282 more days to do it. Wow!
Relax but Attack! Go USA
Summer Fun in 2010
The last couple of months have been very fun, busy and helpful as I keep plugging along towards the next phase of being the Captain of the 2011 US Solheim Cup Team! Of course the 2010 Season is coming to a near end, but there is still a lot of exciting golf to be played as the tour is in Asia for this last swing before the final two events in Mexico and Orlando for the LPGA Tour Championship!
Solheim Cup Points
Since my last entry, there has been a lot of exciting golf played by US Players as well as European players. Cristie Kerr still leads the US Point race going into the Asia Swing. Michelle Wie is holding onto 2nd place since her win in Canada and 2nd place showing in Arkansas. Morgan Pressel having played some great golf this summer is in a strong third place. A handful of experienced Solheim Cup players sit right behind them rounding up the top-10, but watch out for some of the LPGA's veterans like Wendy Ward, Michelle Redman and Juli Inkster who all racked up some points in October.
Next year is when the battle to make the team really starts to take shape as the players will be playing for amplified points during the Solheim Cup year.
This past month all eyes were on the Men's US squad at the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, as they were trying their hand to upend the streak of homeland victories in Europe. Lots to learn as many different stories unfolded for me to make note of and to prepare myself for the unexpected. First and foremost, was the heat Captain Corey Pavin took for leaking rain gear. Lots of emails going around that early Friday morning as I was assured by our rain gear providers Sunice that our rain suits will be tested and retested before we head to Ireland as we will be experiencing some of the same wet rainy weather there as the men did this year in Wales. Of course that is one of my main concerns and considered a high priority when it comes to our equipment and the ability to keep our players dry and warm on the course.
Rain suits aside, the competition was very insightful and the drama was intense as the final points were hashed out on final Sunday!
One of my favorite things to do this year is to get out on the LPGA and nurture some of those relationships with potential players vying for the Solheim Cup. I was able to sneak over to Prattville, Alabama, where I was able to have dinner with some of those gals (Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Vicky Hurst and Stacy Lewis) and watch many other US players there for the Navistar LPGA Classic. That week was a good one to watch as they played another great Robert Trent Jones Trail course which always gives me some good opportunities to see the much needed iron precision and control off the tee. Much like what they will need next year at Killeen Castle on the new Jack Nicklaus design parkland course.
Non-Captain Duties and Perks!
Aside from being Captain, I still like to play some competition and did so on The Legends Tour, the official Senior Tour of the LPGA, in The Handa Cup. The Handa Cup is a team competition much like the Solheim Cup where Team USA took on Team World at Wentworth Country Club, this past September. It was a fantastic venue and competition. We Americans were led by our Captain, the Legendary Kathy Whitworth, and were able to retain the Cup again to beat out Team World for the two-day event on the windy vintage club in Portsmouth, NH. Teamed up with one of my Vice Captains Sherri Steinhauer, we were able to go undefeated as we were reminded of many situations that we will experience during next year's Solheim Cup.
Golf in China!
Next on my Schedule was one of the many perks of being The 2011 Solheim Cup Captain and that was an invitation to the Mission Hills Star Trophy event in Hainan China this past week. In big company with Hollywood Stars and Golf Legends, I shared the Tee with many greats as we played for a whopping "Winner Take All $1.28 Million Purse". Lorena Ochoa won the Top Prize as I finished 4th place after shooting a new course record five-under in the 2nd round of the event (Even Par- Total), playing with Greg Norman, Matthew McConaughey, and China star Michael Wong!
It was a huge golf event with a star studded field including Catherine Zeta Jones, Christian Slater, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Hugh Grant, Michael Phelps, Greg Norman, Collin Montgomery and more as we played and stayed at the beautiful, new Mission Hills Resort! Red carpet venues and events filled our days as the competition came down to the last couple of holes when Monty, Captain for the Men's Europe Ryder Cup, made an unfortunate fraction of the rules to miss out on a playoff with Lorena after finishing -4 for the 2 days.
Until next time, Keep it down the middle of the fairway!
Go USA! Relax but Attack!
US Captain RoJo
June and July have been a Captain's dream as two of the Major Championships this summer have been won by Americans. Cristie Kerr blew away the field by 12 shots to win her 2nd major at the LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans in Rochester, NY. And Paula Creamer came back after thumb surgery to win her first major at the U.S. Women's Open held at Oakmont, Pittsburg, PA. Two gutsy performances by experienced Solheim Cup players racking up double points for the major wins. Proving the depth of the Americans this year, we are averaging six American players each week making points toward the race to Ireland. Excellent numbers given the international presence on the LPGA!
As a Tour Player on the LPGA, the importance of preparation was key to my success as a player and champion, and now as The Captain of the US Solheim Cup Team, I'm practicing those same values as we look forward to next September in Ireland. Last week I arrived back home after spending four days in County Meath, Ireland checking out our hotel and golf facilities where the US Team will be staying and preparing for the competition. This will be my only look at Killeen Castle besides a short practice session scheduled mid summer next year.
Joined by my Assistant Captains, Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer, after their play at the RICOH Women's British Open, we spent the next two days going over every detail of what we will need to make sure our team is ready to play when the bell rings September 23rd of O-11! Where will the players stay, what will their rooms look like? Where is their locker room, how big is it? Where do they eat, what kind of food, snacks? Players are professional athletes and their physical therapist is important, where is that space located? Work out space and equipment? Team room, furniture needs? Autograph room, TV's, PC's. What is our bus route, security procedures, practice facility like and located? Caddies, helpers, family accommodations! You name it; we pondered the different options in front of us and together came up with a good plan for our team.
Breaking out for some fresh Irish air, the three of us were then off to see the golf course and check out the fairly new Nicklaus designed, Killeen Castle. Lucky for me I was able to play the course a week in advance, so I got a first hand look at it as we drove our carts around looking at the layout.
Not your typical links course, this parkland track looked very appealing and familiar to us as we drove the beautiful velvety plush fairways. The Ladies' European Tour (LET) was hosting the AIB Irish Ladies Open, so we were able to view the course in tournament conditions. I was happy to see that five of our 2009 Solheim Cup players, (Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, Angela Stanford, and Kristy McPherson) were there to get their first look at Killeen Castle in preparation to be back there in the 2011 Solheim Cup! They're first response about the course was how much it reminded them of Rich Harvest Farms, site of the 2009 event in which they won with Captain Beth Daniel. Good vibes already!
Well the entire week wasn't all work and no play! USA star Christina Kim and I were able to team up against the European Captain Alison Nicholas and Sophie Gustafson for the Killeen Castle Fly Fishing Tournament. After several minutes of casting and unraveling our lines by both teams, Sophie was able to land the only fish caught that afternoon to win a very nice glass vase with the Fly Fishing Tournament name etched on its side. Lots of fun and both Sophie and Christina relished the experience of finding a new passion for the sport. Being somewhat experienced at fly fishing, I know how they feel, but my competitive spirit was bruised just a little bit as we head back to the club house empty handed.
Oh well, it's just fishing and our spirits were lifting as CK and I remembered that it's us, the U.S., who still hold on to the piece of glass that really counts.
The Solheim Cup!
Keep down the middle
Relax but Attack!
May and June have turned out to be very productive and exciting months as I start my work as Captain of the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup Team. Back from the Kraft Nabisco, I made a quick trip to the LPGA Headquarters in Daytona Beach to meet with all the key staff members there at the LPGA and Solheim Cup tournament office that will be helping with the organization and operation of the Solheim Cup. Learning the amount of time and effort by so many dedicated people was overwhelming and I was thankful to have had the chance to meet everyone in person.
My next focus was to put my head around the task of picking my two Assistant Captains. It seems like a simple task, but a lot of in-depth thought and experience has helped me pick the two key people who would be helping me throughout these next several months as well as during the competition over in Ireland.
Given a just a few guidelines as far as who I can pick the list became longer and longer as I looked at several players and past Captains who have made an impact on my Solheim Cup Experience. Having played on 7 Solheim Cup Teams gave me the advantage of knowing first hand what is needed from an assistant and who would be fitting of that role. And since I am awarded with two assistants, I had fun trying to figure out how we all will balance each other and bring our strengths to the forefront.
As I mentioned, the list began to grow with the abundance of great players, friends and characters who have played in The Solheim Cup, but the two people who filtered to the top were naturals when the decision was finally made. With another quick trip to The Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile, Alabama, the announcement was made to the Press, Fans and players, my two exciting choices.
Juli Inkster, 8 time Solheim Cup player, Top U.S. Point maker, Hall of Fame Member and longtime friend and competitor. Sherri Steinhauer, 4 time Solheim Cup player, Top 20 Career money, 2 Time Major Champion, and also a long time friend and competitor on the LPGA. Both of these successful and talented women bring a wealth of experience, passion and team leadership to the table, and I look forward to working closely with them over the next several months as we plan our strategy to win the 2011 Solheim Cup in Ireland.
The three of us would be the foundation of what will be a great 2011 Solheim Cup Team and it was with pride and honor to select these Gals as my partners going forward. It will be our job to share that wealth of experience with our 2011 U.S. Players while leading them to victory.
My next task was to start the process of putting together the Players wardrobe for the Solheim Cup. I know it seems a bit early, but this is a big deal when you realize how much effort goes into reaching the design and style to display the passion and excitement of this generation of players as they represent their Country at the Solheim Cup.
My first trip on this project started with a trip up to Montreal, Canada to meet with Sunice our Official Rain Gear Company to be used in Ireland next year. Rain gear alone could be one our most important pieces of equipment as we look where we are playing and what time of year.
Sunice, a very popular outer wear company known in Canada and Europe, but practically new to those of us in the U.S. was very exciting to meet as we were ushered into their display room full of life size mannequins wearing every style imaginable of their Rain suits. Very impressive and it took only a couple of hours to come up with what will be some very stylish and effective rain suits for not only our Players, but Caddy's, helpers and staff.
The beauty of being named Captain is I get to make all of these decisions, but then I too will take the heat if things don't turn out well. Such is the game of life and for all of us who play golf, we know that that's what makes golf so great. We live by our decisions and be grateful to have been given the opportunity to make them. Bring it on! I say!
As the LPGA gets going on their summer swing so do the U.S. Players. Cristie Kerr widens the margin between herself and Angela Stanford at the #1 Spot on the U.S. Solheim Cup Points List for winning at the State Farm Classic. Lots of players starting to put their summer game face on in anticipation of 2 upcoming majors, The LPGA Championship in Rochester, NY and The US Open at Oakmont CC, Pittsburg Penn.
Remember, Major Championships award double points to those U.S. players finishing on Sunday in the top 20!
I'll be there to catch the action at the LPGA Championship being played at Locust Hills, one of my favorite courses on tour, which happens to be home of two of my wins (The Wegmans International) as a non-major event.
More to come as the summer heats up.
Relax but Attack! Go USA!
My first duties as Captain of the 2011 Solheim Cup was to visit the Kraft Nabisco Championship out in Palm Springs, California. I know, tough duty for me as I strolled around the lush flower and palm tree laden grounds of Mission Hills Country Club watching the U.S. players qualified to be there for the first major championship of the year.
Since my retirement in 2006, I haven't had the luxury of knowing all the players personally from a player's point of view, so it's important for me to get out there and reconnect with the ones I have played with and get to know those new American additions to the tour who I have not known. Of course watching them on TV keeps me in tune with how they are playing, but watching them in person really allows you to see their personality and style of play which will be important for me to know in the next several months.
I spent a lot of time on the course watching almost every U.S. born player at least for a few holes during the Pro-Am and then again in competition as the tournament got underway. I felt like I was watching Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie play a different golf course from the one I played all those years as I watched their long tee shots on the par 4's and par 5's. I also watched veterans Michelle Redman, Pat Hurst, and Sherri Steinhauer, who all made the cut as well as Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel, Kristy McPherson, and Cristie Kerr, who all had good finishes. Cristie led the pack and tied for 5th, with each of them picking up double Solheim Cup points at the major. Stacy Lewis, a second year pro from Arkansas, had a good showing and picked up points and young pro Vicky Hurst who was able to shoot her way into contention going into the weekend.
Another great source of information for me on the course was the support group following these players including parents, spouses, and teachers. Getting to know them through their eyes are just as important to me as watching them play as I get figure out over the next several months just how we as a team will go into this competition.
Also out on the course were several former Solheim Cup Captains Judy Rankin, Beth Daniel, and Betsy King, whose information and experiences will be invaluable for me to tap into as I continue my adventure towards Ireland. And while getting some Solheim stories from Judy Rankin's husband Yippy, Paul Azinger walked up (he was there commentating for CBS) and I was able to get into his head for a while to ask questions about his triumphs as Captain of the Ryder Cup.
Later in the week, I met with the Ireland group hosting the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle and was able to borrow the Waterford Solheim Cup Trophy for just a moment to take some pictures with it in my hand. That, I could get used to!
All in all, it was a great week for me and I look forward to my next tour stop.
Stay tuned to May 13 -15 at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic where I will be announcing my two Assistant Solheim Cup Captains.
Untill then, Relax but Attack! Go USA!
My First Weeks of Captain
OK, so it's been about one month since the initial call from Mike Whan, Commissioner of the LPGA, and two weeks since the official announcement of my role as Captain of the 2011 Solheim Cup Captain! Wow! That's exciting and a big change for what my life has been like the past couple of years. Just when I was getting a little bit detached from the tour as a player and getting use to the idea of life off the tour, this comes knocking on my door like a big bunch of colorfull balloons. Nice!
The day of the announcement, February 24th, the LPGA had orchestrated the sequence of several phone interviews that were scheduled through out the day. I was up early and ready to go around 7:30 a.m. as we were finalizing RosieJones.com, Facebook announcements and newsletter distribution. I knew that the U.S. players over in Singapore were meeting for the tournament party where they would be the first to learn that I would be their 2011 Solheim Cup Captain.
First to happen was another call from Mike Whan telling me congratulations again, and that the official announcement would be happening with in the next hour since the players would be informed with in minutes of this call. With that said, it was only moments later that I had my first text message from Cristie Kerr saying congrats partner. (I was her first partner in Interlochen, Minnesota in 2002 where we beat L. Davies and P. Marti in Fourball.) Then the barage started of emails, facebook, text messages and phone calls from players, friends, family and almost every person I know, that lasted well over 2 days congratulating me for the appointment. Whew! That was maybe the most exciting and power charged couple of days I had ever experienced, and I loved every minute of it. Thank God for computers, email, facebook, and cell phones.
Where was all that social technology when I was playing the Tour those 25 years? It sure makes winning tournaments much more fun for you and your friends, associates, and family when they have easy access and are only a mere finger touch from the inner loop. A lot of fun and I'm so very gratefull for all the attention and your well wishes.
After that, my first order of business has been to get in touch with several potential U.S. players to say Hello from their new Captain! That and getting my feet wet by starting the process of picking my two Solheim Cup Assistant Captains. Lots of people have asked me who those might be, but I know that this decision is going to take some time and there is a lot to consider as I go forward with the process. Look at Corey Pavin, U.S. Captain for this year's Ryder Cup, he ust picked his four assistants last month, only 5-6 months away from the event.
My first personal contact with the U.S. players will be at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, (April 1 - 4) where I will be there for my in the flesh Solheim Cup Captain announcement and press conference. I plan to visit the LPGA tour several times this year which will give me the chance to touch base with most of the 2009 Solheim Cup team, as well as many other important U.S. players who are in the race to Ireland 2011. I look forward to reconnecting with those players I played with during my day as well as many young Americans new to the tour since my retirement from the LPGA in 2006.
I love the Kraft, aka The Dinah Shore and it's a great time to be in Palm Springs, Calif. so this will be a very welcome trip as I get out and start my road to the Solheim Cup on my first official trip as the Captain. Very proud, very excited!
Until next time, Relax but Attack! Go USA!
It was turning out to be some what of a gloomy day, (we have had many of those this winter) as I was sitting in my office perched in the loft of my house, when my phone rang. Not recognizing the number, I chose to ignore the call as I was reminiscing about my mother and how she would be turning 80 that day.
A minute later I picked up the message, it was the new commissioner of the LPGA Mike Whan. "If I could call him back he would love to talk to me."
I remember talking to Betsy King (2007 Solheim Cup Captain) last November on the range at our Legends Tour Championship about how her call to the Captainship came from out of the blue with out any forewarning. And even knowing that, I had no idea that this would be his reason for calling me.
Carrie my partner walked into my office, I mentioned who it was and she insisted I call him back. She knew the ring of truth. Me, I was oblivious, but she insisted again that I call him right back. She was encouraging me to make myself available to the LPGA as I have the past couple of years. Call him let him know you are there for the LPGA, want to be an ambassador, ready to help in any way.
So I did and when the conversation led to the Solheim Cup, I still was not thinking that he would be blurting out those words. "We would like you to be the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup Captain." I was so flabbergasted; I asked him if he had just said what I thought he said. And he said yes, you are the next U.S. Solheim Cup Captain!
Like a movie, It couldn't of been any more perfect as I sat there amongst all of my Solheim Cup memorabilia, bags, trophies and photos. All the reminders of previous Solheim's and the passion that goes with them surrounding me as my eye catches a picture of me and Patty Sheehan on our first match together at Lake Nona Fl. The site of the 1st Solheim Cup in 1990.
Now, the magnitude of what he was saying overwhelmed me as I walked around the room, my voice escalating, my mind reeling, and yes a little nervous thinking about the next two years and what that means to me.
Being the 2011 Captain marks a new dimension for me and I look forward to the experience with as much motivation, zest, and excitement as I did as a player. I couldn't be more proud to represent the United States and to lead the U.S. Team to Ireland next year to retain the Cup.
The Call ended with a lot of thank yous, and I sat there for a minute just taking in the moment. I had a lot to be thankful for. This is going to be a great experience and great fun as I start to plot my course over the next 19 months. I know there were several fantastic players out there that were in the running for the 2011 Solheim Cup Captain and I am honored and humbled by their belief and choice in me.
Until next time,
Relax but Attack