On Thursday morning Juli Inkster learned that she was supposed to give a “big deal” speech at the Opening Ceremony that evening for Team USA She was chatting with us on the sidelines and sharing that news… and then went back to rehearsing her comments with her Vice Captain Pat Hurst. I love this photo, so typical of her style. Her comments that night were emotional and about the role of family, in the lives of the Solheim Cup golfers on the stage.
Juli has the gift of what I call “impromptu wisdom” or maybe “instinctive wisdom” or maybe it’s “instinctive leadership”. She used it often during the matches. When a player needed a little pep talk, she had the perfect words ready!
Frequently during the press conferences, Annika mentioned that she was “analytical”. She had developed a spreadsheet of her team’s skills at different shots. (I assume she used that spreadsheet for setting up her pairings.) Annika was a great cheerleader for Team Europe, but her “Captain” style was very different.
Juli wanted her team to have “fun” together — to share their commonalities – to bond as a team. Team USA was divided into three “pods” of four players each with compatible personalities. The pods did everything together.
In contrast, Annika relied on what I am calling “inspirational messaging”. She shared a special inspirational message with her Team every night. She could speak from experience how inspiration played a big role in her golf. It helped her shoot that famous “59.” In the post-tournament press conferences with Team Europe, the team members mentioned how those evening talks with Annika were so meaningful.
But when I asked at the press conference what they learned about themselves during the Solheim and those memorable evenings together with Annika, only Catriona Mathew could respond. And she said that it probably would take a week or so before players would realize what they had learned about themselves at the 2017 Solheim Cup.
Team USA will take the Solheim Cup back to the USA and have wonderful memories of great shots and the friendships made. But, Team Europe may have learned more about themselves in those nightly team sessions. And those memories for Team Europe may enrich their lives in a way that I believe Annika hoped they would.
Note from Nancy: A special thanks to my partner of over 50 years! This is his third Solheim Cup also. He was my Colorado partner, my Germany partner and now my Des Moines Partner. “Thanks, Peter! I could not cover and enjoy my work without your help!”
Photos of Team Captains (feature) and Annika Sorenstam courtesy of Ladies European Tour. All other photos by Nancy Berkley
Nancy Berkley is an expert on women’s golf and junior-girls golf in the U.S. Nancy is a member of the World Golf Foundation Women’s Committee and a member of the National Golf Foundation. Nancy is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Harvard University, Rutgers Law School and has a degree from the Professional Management Program of Harvard Business School.
Nancy is an active golfer at Frenchman’s Creek Beach and Country Club, her home course in Palm Beach Gardens Florida, where she is a member of the Greens Committee. Describing herself as a good bogey golfer with permanent potential, Nancy shares news and her opinions about women’s golf on berkleygolfconsulting.com and nancyberkley.com.