LPGA vet, Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis on how to grow the women’s golf game

“You’ve got been named the 2024 U.S. Solheim Cup captain.” Stacy Lewis could not imagine it. It was taking place — once more. One 12 months prior, Lewis, a 13-time LPGA Tour winner, obtained the identical name. “You’ve got been named the 2023 U.S. Solheim Cup captain.”

For a full 12 months, she began getting ready and planning for Staff USA to compete towards Staff Europe at Finca Cortesin in Andalusia, Spain, in September 2023. And now, she’s becoming a member of the World Golf Corridor of Fame members July InksterJudy Rankin, Patty Sheehan and Kathy Whitworth because the fifth particular person to captain the U.S. Staff at the very least twice.

Representing the U.S. on the 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 Solheim Cup groups, Lewis understands what it takes to compete on the largest stage of crew competitors in ladies’s golf. And at age 38, Lewis would be the youngest American captain in Solheim Cup historical past.

Whereas making the lower at this week’s KPMG Girls’s PGA Championship, the two-time main winner, Lewis, intently watches the leaderboard earlier than naming her crew. With rising stars like Rose Zhang springing onto the scene and veterans like Jessica Korda out with accidents, Lewis should keep on prime LPGA play.

Lewis, who’s competing in her fifteenth 12 months on tour and does not have plans on slowing down, talked to ESPN about what it means to be named back-to-back Solheim Cup captain, why she’s nonetheless chasing extra wins on tour and the way she’s planning to vary the ladies’s recreation.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

ESPN: How are you managing being an lively LPGA participant and captain for not one, however two Solheim Cups?

Stacy Lewis: I do not know, to be trustworthy. I imply, huge image. I attempt to be the place I’m. After I’m taking part in golf, I am taking part in golf. And once I’m with [my four-year-old daughter] Chesnee and my husband [Gerrod Chadwell]I am with them. I simply attempt to be the place I’m — generally it is late nights, getting emails or getting issues completed whereas Chesnee’s sleeping. I feel again to all the things I’ve completed all through my profession, and it is helped me handle and put issues into perspective.

ESPN: We’re only some months away from Solheim Cup. How are you getting ready?

SL: I am making an attempt to debate it as a lot as attainable. You do not need to essentially discuss it with the gamers since you need them to play good golf, however to speak it up within the media — I need the announcement for captains’ picks to be an enormous deal.

And getting these women the protection they need to be getting. That is numerous what I am making an attempt to do as we lead as much as it as a result of that is our largest form of media alternative main into the Cup — asserting the crew after which subsequently asserting the picks. And the way can we make that huge? How can we make certain it is talked about with the blokes? That is my huge aim, to do one thing with the blokes. It looks as if a no brainer, however it’s been somewhat more durable and slower shifting than I would really like.

ESPN: How a lot has your thoughts modified on who will probably be in your crew or who you count on to see main?

SL: It is modified fairly a bit. You have a look at Jessica Korda being harm, a veteran voice that I feel we’ll miss. Then clearly, Rose Zhang popping in there. You’ve got acquired Cheyenne Woods, who has performed nicely this 12 months and labored her manner up in there. And Lilia Vu with the new begin to the 12 months. We have got some youthful ones which are going to be rookies to this complete factor.

It is pressured some completely different individuals to be leaders who did not all the time see themselves in that function. And it isn’t going to them saying, “Hey, I want you to be a frontrunner.” It is simply encouraging them to talk up and, if they’ve questions, to ask them and never watch for anyone else to ask them. It is little issues like that. A whole lot of occasions, your finest leaders are those that lead by instance, not by how a lot they are saying. So, I feel the dynamics modified fairly a bit, simply with some individuals shifting in, some individuals shifting out. And we’ll in all probability have fairly a couple of rookies after we begin.

ESPN: You’ve got been on tour for 15 years. You’ve got seen all of it. How do you’re feeling concerning the present state {of professional} ladies’s golf?

SL: I used to be trying on the Solheim Cup groups through the years. I used to be like, “Okay, you have got a bunch of rookies, after which you have got a bunch of veterans for some time and the US wins for some time. After which we go the opposite manner with rookies.” There are ebbs and flows to it. The Europeans, proper now, have extra of the veterans. They’ve extra individuals with numerous expertise. And we have set to work our rookies up there, and so they’re working their manner into getting that have.

You are all the time going to have stars come alongside. All of them have the sport, however to have the perspective and the flexibility to carry up underneath stress. Like Lilia Vu profitable the Chevron in April to Rose ending out the [Mizuho Americas Open] at Liberty Golf Membership [in early June]simply to see them have the moxie and the perspective to complete it out, that is the best half for me.

ESPN: What do you hope to perform along with your golf recreation proper now?

SL: I’ve actually performed fairly horrendously the final couple of years, and I do not need that to be the way in which I’m going out. I need to be taking part in good golf. I nonetheless have some good golf in me, and I have been working arduous to get the golf swing again on monitor. Issues had gotten fairly off, and I simply needed to get in competition and have some alternatives to win and see what occurs. It is more durable than it ever is to win out right here. I imply, it is so deep on who may really win that you would be able to’t go into the week saying, “I’ll win this week.” I simply need to have an opportunity. That is the aim.

ESPN: What do you hope to see concerning adjustments on the LPGA tour?

SL: It is a very attention-grabbing time for golf. We do not know what course the PGA Tour goes to go when this [union with LIV] is all mentioned and completed, however I like the place ladies’s golf is. I like the place we’re in company America and the businesses coming to put money into us and see our worth. I like the place we’re happening that entrance. In the end, we may get to the place our majors are equal with the blokes. After which our different tournaments are at a decrease degree. And on community TV, we nonetheless acquired to get higher and extra TV protection. We want streaming.

ESPN: On the ladies’s golf facet, we’re now getting superior knowledge and analytics like strokes gained, due to the LPGA Tour monetary help from KPMG. How are you using these new developments for the Solheim Cup?

SL: After I was introduced as captain, I simply began studying books and articles. And on the boys’s facet, it talked rather a lot concerning the analytics and the information, about how they might simulate pairings and provides them potential individuals who would play nicely collectively. And I am like, “Why do not we’ve this?”

I began asking questions and tried to determine the proper route. I talked to KPMG about it simply because I needed to get entry to our knowledge. We now have two years of knowledge now, lastly. It has been a game-changer. We have been in a position to have a look at predictions of who’s going to make the crew. We’re form of projecting that out. Now we’re diving into women’ video games, discovering the strengths and weaknesses and who would pair up collectively, who would not … In case you’re form of between two individuals for a captain’s decide, how they pair up with individuals. That may very well be a game-changer.

ESPN: Being named back-to-back Solheim Cup captain — does the thrill maintain up?

SL: It nonetheless does not appear actual. I feel it may hit me extra as soon as we’re there and once I’m doing the press conferences each day. As a participant, you get out of it and have some enjoyable, however I’ll be the one which’s answering all of the questions and be entrance and middle. I’ve loved the method. I’ve loved attending to resolve all these items behind the scenes.

It is in all probability not going to hit me till it is over.

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Printed : 2023-06-24 17:23:32

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