Christina Kim clinched the final and 10th points spot on the US Solheim Cup team on Sunday and captain Rosie Jones selected Vicky Hurst and Ryann O’Toole as the two wildcard picks to round out the squad that will compete against the Europeans in Ireland next month.
The top nine in the points standings were (in order from 1st-9th): Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Morgan Pressel, Angel Stanford, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang and Juli Inkster.
At 51, Inkster becomes the oldest player to ever qualify for a Solheim Cup and the first to serve as a playing assistant captain.
(If you haven’t read PGA Confidential already, I said that with absolutely no disrespect to Inkster who is an incredible golfer and person, but what does that say about the state of American golf? — you can spin it whichever way you’d like. Oh, just an aside: We tossed around the idea of a ladies’ version of the Presidents Cup, which has to be in the makings, right? Team events are so much fun to watch. In 2009 I know I wasn’t alone when I say I was absolutely captivated by the drama and action.)
Hurst finished 11th on the points list and placed T5 at the Safeway Classic on Sunday at Pumpkin Ridge. Meanwhile, O’Toole was the real surprise. The Big Break star has only made seven starts on the LPGA, but has two top tens, including T5 with Hurst on Sunday.
Don’t say you didn’t scratch your head for a second when you heard O’Toole had been added. Well, I don’t think I’m in the minority. Then I Googled Ryann and that offered some clarity. (I’m feeling a “Know Your Solheim Cup Captain’s Picks” feature at some point this week…)
O’Toole, 18th in the final standings, has only played in seven tour events. She shot a 70 on Sunday to finish three strokes off the leaders at 3 under.
“I’m ready to kick Europe’s butt,” she said when the team announcement was made by Jones on Sunday night.
Even Jones called the selection a “very wild pick.”
In selecting O’Toole, Jones passed over No. 12 Katie Futcher, No. 13 Kristy McPherson, No. 14 Wendy Ward, No. 15 Pat Hurst, No. 16 Natalie Gulbis and No. 17 Stacy Prammanasudh.
“Rosie took a chance on me and that means more than I can explain,” O’Toole said. “It means just as much as winning a tournament. To have someone go against what people might think and go out on a limb with a rookie. She can see what I’m made of. She said she can see my moxie.”
It certainly will make things more interesting. It’s actually a win-win situation for Jones. If O’Toole plays brilliantly and earns the US a bunch of points, we have a new, young cute American star and Jones looks like a genius. If she plays even decently, we have a new, young cute American star and Jones still looks like a genius. If she flops, we still have a new, young cute rising American star and Jones chalks it up to taking a chance (after all, that’s what wild cards are for, right?).
Bye bye, Natalie Gulbis. Hello, Ryan O’Toole!