Mickey Walker OBE, Captain of the European Solheim Cup from 1990 to 1996, is confirmed as Captain of the European Junior team at next year’s PING Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles 2019.
A six-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, Walker remains very active in the world of women’s golf and a familiar figure to sports fans as a regular commentator on Sky Sports. As well as her Solheim Cup captaincy, Walker also coached the GB & I Curtis Cup team on three occasions in 1994, 1996 and 1998, bringing a wealth of experience to the table for the 2019 match as Europe’s young aspiring golf stars take part in one of the biggest events in women’s sport globally.
Walker, who was awarded the OBE for her services to golf in 1993 and elected Honorary Member of the PGA in 1996 is thrilled with the appointment.
She commented, “Having been Captain for the first four editions of the Solheim Cup from 1990 and involved with the matches since then, it would be true to say that The Solheim Cup is part of my DNA. I was fortunate enough to meet and spend time with Karsten and Louse Solheim years before then when, as a player on the LPGA Tour I met Karsten in Phoenix not long after his “PING” putters were causing a stir in the golfing world.”
Walker continued, “Just as Karsten was an engineering visionary within the world of golf manufacturing, he, Louise and their family became visionaries within the game of women’s golf with their support of the players and developing the Solheim Cup. Along the way, the Solheim family’s generous and gracious manner has made everyone associated with their business, the Solheim and PING Junior Solheim Cups and with them as individuals proud to know them and grateful for their involvement in girls and women’s golf. It is a statement of fact that every European and American girl golfer aspires to make the PING Junior Solheim Cup Team as their professional counterparts do the Solheim Cup. Having something to aim for is massively important in any walk of life. I and all of my fellow female golfers will be forever grateful to Karsten, Louise and their family for their initial and ongoing involvement in golf.
I couldn’t be more proud and excited to have been asked by John Solheim to Captain the 2019 edition of the PING Junior Solheim Cup to be played at Gleneagles, which is a venue very dear to me, having first played there as a fifteen year old with a favourite golfing uncle of mine many years ago! I have no doubt that as with previous PING Junior Solheim Cups, many of the 2019 participants will go on to represent their countries at senior level and become stars of the future. Karsten, Louise and John’s vision back in the late 1980s has given the golfing world a great platform to showcase the skills and competitiveness of girls and women’s golf to a global audience. I’m already looking forward to meeting the PING Junior Solheim Cup Teams and can’t wait for September 2019!”
“It’s a tremendous honor to welcome Mickey Walker as the captain of Europe’s PING Junior Solheim Cup team,” said PING Chairman & CEO John A. Solheim. “Her connection to the Solheim Cup as a four-time captain is unmatched. I’ll never forget the passion and excitement her team demonstrated under her leadership in winning the Solheim Cup for the first time at Dalmahoy in 1992. I know she’ll draw on all her experience as a captain to bring out the best in her team at Gleneagles. She’s been a close and beloved friend of our entire family and we’re extremely grateful for her commitment to leading the next PING Junior Solheim Cup team from Europe. The girls who earn the privilege of representing Europe and playing for Mickey will come away with a greater appreciation for what the Solheim Cup means to the game of golf and enjoy an experience they’ll never forget.”
Taking place as part of the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, 9th –15th September, a dozen of Europe’s brightest young stars aged 12 to 18 years old will look to claim back the trophy won by the American team in 2017 at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in Iowa.
Europe last won when the match took place at Båstad Golf Club, Sweden in 2007 and there is no end of motivation to win back the trophy as juniors across Europe have a firm eye on earning a coveted place at Gleneagles in 2019.
Aileen Campbell, The Scottish Government’s Sports Minister said: “In the Year of Young People in Scotland I am delighted to see such a legendary figure as Mickey Walker being appointed captain of the European Ping Junior Solheim Cup team. I’m sure she will further inspire junior golfers in Scotland and beyond to raise their game in the hope of qualifying for the team at Gleneagles.”
Part of Walker’s role will be to run the rule over prospective European Ping Junior Solheim Cup team members, including a group of six young Scottish girls who have made it their mission to qualify through their self-titled #Project19 initiative. The youngsters, aged between 14-16, were further inspired when they attended The 2017 Solheim Cup in Des Moines and represented Scotland during the closing ceremony.
The Solheim Cup week will begin with the PING Junior Solheim Cup with the participants made to feel an important part of the main event. This under 18 event will be showcased as never before as Scotland seeks to ensure that this is the most family orientated and inclusive Solheim Cup ever staged. The Scottish Government has stated the ambition to ensure the 2019 edition of the Solheim Cup in Perthshire will serve to both grow golf and leave a lasting legacy of increased participation in women’s sport.
The themes of equality, innovation and experience will be thread through all aspects of the event as The 2019 Solheim Cup aims to engage both the traditional golf audience and the wider sports fan, raising the profile of women’s golf both in Scotland and internationally. The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have been long-time supporters of the women’s game having partnered with the Ricoh Women’s British Open and recently significantly enhanced the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, which took place as a co-sanctioned LET and LPGA event for the first time, last year.
The 2019 Solheim Cup will not only highlight the stunning assets of Scotland, the Home of Golf, but also build on the legacy of the successful 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It will underline that Scotland is the perfect stage for major golf events as it seeks to help inspire a new generation of children to take up the game invented in their home country.
The full criteria for the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup is outlined below with the leading six players from the PJSC ranking (based on results from the 2019 PJSC q-events) following the Girls British Open Championship 2019 automatically selected along with six Captain’s Picks based on performances at amateur events along with the EGA Ladies European Amateur Ranking.
- 12 participants.
- Participants must be 12-18 years old (born 2001 or later) and must not have reached their 18th birthday prior to January 2019.
- Participants must be amateurs and not be members of a competitive collegiate golf program.
- Participants must be a European citizen (as per IGF National Policy).
- The leading six players from the PJSC ranking (based on results from the 2019 PJSC q-events) following the Girls British Open Championship 2019 will be automatically picked. In the event of a tie for the qualification positions, the selection would have been decided based on individual standings on the EGA Ladies European Amateur Ranking.
- Six Captain’s Picks.
- All amateur events and the EGA Ladies European Amateur Ranking will be taken into consideration when deciding the Captain’s Picks.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup qualifying events and point distribution will be announced by the end of the 2018 season.