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Caption: Alison Nicholas with the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle
Alison Nicholas has been selected to Captain the European PING Junior Solheim Cup team in 2017 in Iowa, United States. It is the first time in history a former winning Solheim Cup Captain has also taken on the role to lead the European juniors. This proves the vision of John Solheim, Chairman and CEO PING, when he created the PING Junior Solheim Cup in 2002 to help develop girls' golf by building a world class junior event.
"Our vision for the PING Junior Solheim Cup is for it to continue to help advance girls' golf around the world by bringing together the top juniors from the United States and Europe at a high class event on the international stage," Mr Solheim confirmed.
"Since starting the event in 2002, we've been delighted with the results, and the interest and excitement from the golf community has far exceeded our expectations. The players on each side strive to make their teams for the honour of representing their countries and come away with life-long memories and friendships. A large number of the participants have gone on to play major roles in winning The Solheim Cup itself. The PING Junior Solheim Cup provides a glimpse into the future of the women's game. The interest and spirit of the fans continues to grow, ensuring a passion-filled event where top-class skill and sportsmanship are on display from the very first tee shot."
"We're very pleased Alison has taken on the important responsibility of leading and mentoring Europe's next PING Junior Solheim Cup team," Mr Solheim continues,
"We've known and been associated with her for a very long time. I remember when she won the Women's British Open in 1987 as a member of our staff. It proved to us what a competitor she was in the game's most pressure-packed moments. She went on to win the U.S. Women's Open and compete in six straight Solheim Cups before twice serving as Captain of the European team, including leading the team to victory in 2011 at Ireland's Killeen Castle. I'm sure that success and determination will serve Alison well in her role as PING Junior Solheim Cup Captain. The girls who make her team are in for a tremendous experience under her leadership," Mr Solheim confirmes.
"The Solheim family have been huge supporters of women's golf and I can only thank them for their vision and support over the years. Women's golf has flourished because of their sponsorship and involvement," said Alison Nicholas.
"I love The Solheim Cup and all of that it means. Great moments in victory and in defeat. I will always cherish the memories from each and everyone but seeing my 2011 team win was very, very special. Now I look forward to meeting the junior girls team and helping to create the right environment for them to play their best.
"I will share all my experience from winning the US Open and from playing against the US team at The Solheim Cup," Alison Nicholas continues.
"I will also give them advice from my own golf career. Everyday you learn something new. Your skill improves, your course management improves, your experience grows and you develop the skills to help you deal with the pressure. I want to advise the juniors to enjoy the game and be resilient. You will have tough times but keep believing in yourself. After all it is only a game and golf does not define you. Work hard, enjoy everything, and the results will take care of themselves.", Alison Nicholas ends.
To qualify for the European team, participants must be girls aged 12-18 years old (born 1999 or later) and must not have reached their 18th birthday prior to January 1st, 2017. Prospective team members must be amateurs and cannot be members of a competitive collegiate golf programme. They must also be European citizens.
The 2017 event in Iowa marks the ninth time the PING Junior Solheim Cup team will be contested with the US Team currently leading the series 5-2-1.