(Reuters) – Former world number one Stacy Lewis has been named U.S. captain for the 2023 Solheim Cup in Spain, the LPGA said on Wednesday, an appointment the twice major champion called one of the proudest moments of her career.
A 13-times winner on the LPGA Tour, Lewis is no stranger to the biennial women’s team event versus Europe having logged four consecutive appearances as a player from 2011 and serving as assistant captain under Pat Hurst in 2021.
“I have learned so much from the past captains on the Solheim Cup Committee, and the fact that they chose me to lead this team is one of the proudest moments of my career,” said Lewis. “I’m more than ready to step into this role.”
Lewis has an underwhelming 5-10-1 Solheim Cup record as a player but was a part of winning teams in 2015 in Germany and 2017 in Iowa. She was a captain’s pick in 2019 but withdrew with injury and served as an unofficial assistant captain.
Lewis will be 38-years-old when the competition begins, making her the youngest American captain in Solheim Cup history and the second-youngest captain for either side. Patty Sheehan was 45 when she served as U.S. captain in 2002, while Catrin Nilsmark was 36 when she was the European captain in 2003.
Lewis, who has enjoyed a solid start to the year with two top-10 finishes in three events, did not rule out making herself one of three captain’s pick for the 12-woman team.
Currently fourth on the U.S. Solheim Cup points list, which grants the top seven players a spot on the team, Lewis said she always thought when she was captain she would not be playing but conceded her start to the year has changed her tune.
“If I need to build the best team possible and my name is a part of that, then I’ll do it,” Lewis told reporters during a virtual media availability.
“But it’s just going to be a conversation to have with my assistants, if they feel that that’s the right move to make for the team, because I also want to be able to be there for the girls during the event, as well.
“It’s not a conversation right now, but hopefully I keep playing well and it is a conversation we have to have.”
The next edition of the Solheim Cup will be played Sept. 22-24, 2023, at Finca Cortesin.
Europe are the champions after edging the United States 15-13 at Inverness Club in Ohio last September to retain the Solheim Cup. The Americans lead the overall series 10-7.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was named last November as captain of the European team. Pettersen, a double major champion, has represented Europe nine times as a player in the competition and twice as a vice-captain.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)