Sorenstam and Koch represent an experienced ‘back room’ team which will be ideally placed to give Europe its best chance of retaining the Cup on U.S. soil for the first time following its dramatic victory at Killeen Castle in Ireland last year.
All three captains are world class golfers and great friends with tremendous experience of playing in The Solheim Cup, having played a combined total of 18 times. The Swedish trio featured in the winning European team of 2000, while Sorenstam and Koch were successful foursomes and four-ball partners 2002 and then again won their foursomes match together in 2003.
Neumann, who represented Europe on six consecutive occasions as a player from 1990 to 2000, said: “I am extremely pleased to announce that Annika and Carin will be my Vice Captains. Their passion for the game of golf and experience as past Solheim Cup players will prove invaluable as we work together to defend the Cup and win on US soil for the first time.”
Former world number one Sorenstam played in The Solheim Cup eight times from 1994 to 2007, winning 24 points in 37 matches, before retiring in 2008.
She served as a Vice-Captain to Alison Nicholas in 2011 in Ireland and was integral to Europe’s victory, with her work behind the scenes.
Her achievements mark her as one of the most successful female golfers in history with 90 tournament victories including 10 major championships.
Sorenstam is delighted to be supporting Neumann, her role model as a young golfer, with whom she won the 2006 Women’s World Cup of Golf representing Sweden.
She said: “I am very honored and excited to join Lotta and the European Solheim Cup team once again as a Vice Captain. Lotta has been a friend of mine for nearly 20 years and actually inspired me to follow my dreams when she broke through and won the US Women’s Open in 1988. I have always respected her class and demeanor and I know she will be a great leader for Team Europe. Next year’s Solheim Cup in Colorado is very important for Europe as we need to keep the momentum going after winning the Cup last year in Ireland. I look forward to helping Lotta in any way possible.”
Koch famously holed the winning putt for the European team in 2000 at Loch Lomond and was also on Europe’s winning team in 2003. She played in four Solheim Cups in succession from 2000 to 2005 and won 11 ½ points from 16 matches, going unbeaten in eight Solheim Cup matches played in 2000 and 2002.
She has four tournament victories worldwide, including the 2000 Chrysler Open, the 2000 TSN Ladies World Cup and two titles on the LPGA. Koch also captained the European team in the 2009 PING Junior Solheim Cup at Aurora Country Club in Illinois and regularly competes on the Ladies European Tour.
Koch said: “I am very excited and honored to be chosen by Lotta as her Vice Captain. I am looking forward to working with a great team in her and Annika. Lotta was my first role model in golf and she will be a wonderful leader for the team. Annika and I played together on the Swedish team growing up, on the LET and LPGA. We were great playing together in The Solheim Cup, and I am sure we will be great together in assisting Lotta.
“The Solheim Cup is very special to me and every player who has played the matches. It is the most exciting and nerve-wracking event in golf and also the most rewarding for the team with the trophy in the end.
“My best memory is that of making the winning put in the dark in Loch Lomond 2000: that is the best moment of my career! Winning in Sweden with many friends and family around was also very special, but there are many other sweet memories of Solheim Cups that I keep with me.
“The Solheim Cup is the premier event to showcase women´s golf. Winning is important to show how much talent there is in Europe and on the Ladies European Tour.”
The United States Captain Meg Mallon recently announced that Dottie Pepper will serve as one of her Vice Captains when the U.S. takes on Europe at the 13th playing of The Solheim Cup next year and is expected to name a second Vice Captain in early 2013.
The 2013 Solheim Cup takes place from August 13-18, just a few days after the PGA Championship, so European fans are being encouraged to save the date! A trip to Colorado Golf Club represents the dream opportunity to watch Europe win in the United States for the first time and travel package details will be announced soon.