(Reuters) – Six-times LPGA Tour winner Pat Hurst is the 2021 United States Solheim Cup captain and thinks home advantage should help her team avenge last year’s surprise defeat by Europe.
Hurst played in five Solheim Cups and was an assistant captain to Juli Inkster on the past three teams in the biennial event that uses the same matchplay format as the men’s Ryder Cup.
Hurst was on hand at Gleneagles, Scotland four months ago when Catriona Matthew-led Europe clinched a nail-biting 14.5-13.5 victory that came down to the final putt.
Matthew is returning as European captain next year, and Hurst is ready to turn the tables on her counterpart when they face off at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio from Sept. 4-6.
The U.S. lead Europe 10-6 all-time in Solheim Cup competition and have only lost once on American soil.
“Anytime you play on home soil you feel like you have the advantage,” Hurst said in a conference call on Thursday, vividly recalling the finish at Gleneagles.
“Before closing ceremonies we all huddled up and Juli, one of her speeches said how proud she was of the team and that there is a disappointment but nothing to be ashamed about.
“They (Europe) played great. There’s nothing you can do about it. She (Matthew) did an awesome job.”
Hurst is determined to do likewise, and her passion for the event is evident in a blog on the LPGA website.
“No cheers in women’s golf match the Solheim Cup. Nothing makes your hair stand up or causes tingles to run down your arms like the drama and intensity of those three days,” Hurst wrote.
“Now that I’ve been blessed with this great honor and awesome responsibility, I’m giving it all I’ve got.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)