by Jeff Skinner
Karsten Solheim was a true innovator when it game to golf club design and manufacturing. He founded Karsten Manufacturing out of his garage while he was tinkering with a way to cure to a problem that affects all golfers. He wasn’t happy with his putter and decided to build his own. He was a latecomer to golf and only started playing when he was 42 but his creative thinking and unusual designs changed golf.
His game changing Ping Anser putter made him famous, wealthy and put Karsten Manufacturing into the big time. Karsten was responsible for “perimeter weighting” in clubs and that change allowed average golfers to play better golf and his irons became the standard for other club makers to follow.
Solheim left many legacies in the world of golf and one of them takes place this week at the Solheim Cup. Solheim was a huge supporter of women’s golf and he was the driving force behind the formation of The Solheim Cup. He worked with The LPGA and The Ladies European Tour to establish the cup and was the founding sponsor in 1990. Without Solheim and his determination there would be no Solheim Cup.
The two teams are primed for an exciting week of golf at Killeen Castle with the Euro’s led by feisty, world number two Suzann Pettersen and long time veteran Laura Davies. The U.S. Team boasts seven of the top twenty players in the Rolex Rankings led by number three Cristie Kerr and the spirited Paula Creamer. Rookie Stacy Lewis brings her “major touch” to Ireland and looks to set the tone for fellow rookies Ryann O’Toole and Vicky Hurst. Buddies Michelle Wie and Christina Kim are looking to revive their partnership from 2009. Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel are all back from the winning 2009 team. The most interesting player on both teams may be the oldest.
51 year old Juli Inkster is the oldest player to ever represent any U.S. Team, male or female in team competition. She’s playing as an assistant captain and really serves as “Team Mom” to all the younger girls. It’s amazing that Inkster can still compete with these young players but she has the perfect makeup for a team player. It won’t be long before she captain’s her own Solheim Cup Team.
Hopefully the star of the week will be the golfers and not the fickle Irish weather. The Solheim Cup is the premier event in women’s golf and the women hopefully the players will be able to display their talent without the distractions of constant rain and wind.
Whatever the Irish weather brings, this is what Karsten Solheim and his family had hoped the cup would grow into: two talented teams of women golfers playing in the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship.
Here are the team rosters. Click here for team capsules.