Sebastian Rühl has become the first man to be handed a senior captaincy role in the PING Junior Solheim Cup.
The 31 year-old German national girls’ coach, has been selected as Iben Tinning’s Vice Captain for the European Team at this year’s match at St. Leon-Rot near Heidelberg. He plans to use his experience and his knowledge of this year’s venue to help the European Team defeat their American rivals for the first time since 2007.
Since the age of nine Sebastian wanted nothing more than to teach golf for a living. He started his apprenticeship straight from school under former German national coach Oliver Heuler and has subsequently built a reputation as one of Europe’s leading coaches.
“It’s a great honour to be asked to be Vice Captain of the European Team at this year’s PING Junior Solheim Cup,” he said. “I was asked just before Christmas and it was the best present I could have had.
“I’ve always wanted to coach at the highest level. It was a dream come true to be asked to coach the German national girls’ squad and this gives me the chance to use my skills on a major international stage.
“I’m really looking forward to work with Iben and the rest of the team,“ he added. “I’m sure there will be some talk about me being the first man to have this sort of role in a women’s team but to me that’s irrelevant. It’s no different to what I do with the German girls’ squad.
“All our focus will be on winning the trophy and I have been around the European game long enough to know we have more than enough good players to achieve that goal.”
Four-time Solheim Cup player and six-time LET winner Tinning was delighted Rühl accepted the job as Vice Captain and believes they can form a very successful partnership.
“I know Sebastian works hard and is very dedicated,“ she said. “We’ve already had several useful chats. He knows most of the girls who will be challenging for places in the team and he’s based at St. Leon-Rot so his local knowledge will be useful too.
“It’s clear we’re both on the same wavelength,“ added the Captain. “We both want to win and there’s no reason why we can’t do it. Back in my days we tended to be a bit in awe of the Americans and that gave them a bit of an edge. We still respect them. We know they will pick a strong side, but we’ve also got a lot of great players and it’s our job to send them out in the right frame of mind.”
The German Golf Federation was quick to congratulate Rühl on his appointment.
“We were proud to be asked to be the Host Association for the PING Junior Solheim Cup at St. Leon Rot and are delighted that Sebastian has been selected as Vice Captain of the PING Junior Solheim Cup squad,” said Marcus Neumann, Member of the Board and Sports Director of the German Golf Association. “He has done a magnificent job since joining the Federation five years ago and his contribution since becoming head coach in 2013 cannot be exaggerated.”
“We are delighted the event will be in Germany and at GC St. Leon-Rot and that the PING Junior Solheim Cup and The Solheim Cup will be played at the same venue for the first time. We are looking forward to working with the German Golf Federation, GC St. Leon-Rot and the LET to make this year’s event the best ever. Sebastian’s experience and local knowledge will be of great benefit to the European team”, said John Clark, Managing Director, PING Europe.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup 2015 is to be played at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot on September 14-15 immediately ahead of The Solheim Cup, which is staged at the same German golf club on September 18-20. It is the first time the same venue has been used for both matches.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup is a team match play competition between Europe and the United States, each team featuring the best 12 female golfers 18 years of age and younger.
The competition consist of 24 matches – six foursome matches, six fourball matches and 12 single matches.
The aim of the competition is to give juniors the opportunity to further their golfing careers by playing matchplay at a high level and also for the competitors to meet, learn and be inspired by the professional players playing in The Solheim Cup.
The 2015 event marks the eighth time the PING Junior Solheim Cup team will be contested with the US Team currently leading the series 4-2-1.
The PING Junior Solheim Cup was established by PING CEO and Chairman, John Solheim, back in 2002 and since has developed a deserved reputation for showcasing the talents of the world’s best female junior players with Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist, Carlota Ciganda, Beatriz Recari, Melissa Reid, Charley Hull, Caroline Masson, Caroline Hedwall, Paula Creamer, Vicky Hurst, Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Jessica Korda, and Lexi Thompson all playing in the match before graduating to The Solheim Cup.