Juli Inkster has been appointed US Solheim Cup Captain for the third consecutive time for the 2019 match at Gleneagles, After the last match In Des Moines Iowa, team member Stacy Lewis said “each one of us had a little bit of Juli in us. We look up to her so much”.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said that Juli “keeps it loose, keeps it fun which gets the team to play well under pressure. She keeps the team relaxed, cohesive and successful”. Juli said she is “so excited and stoked, it’s an unbelievable honour” she says she enjoys the chemistry and the bonding. She’s also pretty useful on the first tee, leading the cheering and singing.
One thing is certain, in team tournaments if Paul Azinger is the Podfather, Juli Inkster is the podmother. She is fully invested in the pod system which Azinger introduced at the 2008 Ryder Cup. She said “I’m still going with the pod system. It’s great to put people together in small groups, there’s no mystery.” It means pairing players who have similar personality traits together – this is more important than having similar golf games. “golf is 50% of it. the other 50% is being a team making memories”.
She’s also used her position to speak out about the disparity in men’s and women’s tournament purses, citing the recent Australian Open tennis championship which had equal prize money. She also said it’s disappointing that companies sponsoring tournaments on the PGA Tour will not look at the LPGA. “I don’t think we get the respect we deserve. We deserve our due”. (Well, if men’s and women’s golf was run alongside each other at the same venue as in tennis, then sponsors might look at co-sanctioning events. Just saying).
At the beginning of her career Juli used to play in Europe and I remember seeing her come in for lessons when I took some of my own at the Leslie King school in Knightsbridge. What a convoluted method that was, I hope she wasn’t as confused as I was by it. PErhaps not, she has gone on to win 7 major championships. How to follow that and a three peat as Solheim Captain? I’d make her Commissioner of the LPGA. It’s about time that job went to a woman.