Val Skinner Named Captain of PING Junior Solheim Cup Team

Val Skinner, a member of the victorious 1996 U.S. Solheim Cup Team and a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, has been named captain of the United States PING Junior Solheim Cup Team.

“We are delighted that Val has accepted the U.S. Team captaincy,” said John A. Solheim, chairman & CEO of PING, the leading global manufacturer of custom-built golf equipment that sponsors the event. “Val’s spirit, love and dedication to the game of golf, combined with her exceptional leadership qualities, made her an ideal candidate for this position.”

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to captain the U.S. PING Junior Solheim Cup Team,” said Skinner. “It will be a pleasure to watch these young players express their talent and love of the game in a team atmosphere. The Solheim Cup was one of my best competitive experiences as a golfer, and I look forward to sharing those experiences and memories with these fine young players.

“I am very grateful to John Solheim for the invitation and the vote of confidence to be invited to captain the team.”

The PING Junior Solheim Cup, which features the 12 best female junior golfers (ages 13-18) from the United States competing against the top 12 junior girls from Europe, will be held Sept. 9-10 at the Bokskogens Golf Club near Malmö, Sweden. The event immediately precedes The Solheim Cup at nearby Barsebäck Golf and Country Club, Sept. 12-14.

The United States won the inaugural PING Junior Solheim Cup at Oak Ridge Country Club in Minnesota last year, 17-7.

Skinner, who will be a commentator for The Golf Channel during the 2003 Solheim Cup telecast, is playing her 21st year on the LPGA Tour, where she ranks among the top 50 in all-time career earnings. She also played six events on the Ladies European Tour, winning four titles and earning Rookie of the Year in 1982.

Skinner’s fierce competitiveness and determination on the golf course transcends to her work involving philanthropy. Her passion to create awareness about breast cancer among young women earned her the LPGA’s 1999 Komen Award in recognition of contributions and initiatives through golf to eradicate this disease.

Skinner was close friends with LPGA member Heather Farr who in 1993 lost her battle with breast cancer. As a result, Skinner became founder, chairman and host of LIFE (LPGA Pros In the Fight to Eradicate Breast Cancer). In four years, Skinner has raised $2 million through LIFE for The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the LPGA’s official national charity. The LIFE event funds have supported the launch of a national campaign called “The Young Women’s Initiative.”

Skinner, who resides in Bay Head, N.J., was the recipient of the 2001 New Jersey Woman of Achievement Award. She has also been cited as a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scout Council, has earned the Women’s Wellness Award and the Samaritan Award.

She received the Award of Hope in 2000 from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey for raising $500,000, the largest single-day donation ever for breast cancer from a golf event.

In 1997, Skinner was selected as one of USA WEEKEND magazine’s five “Most Caring Athletes” in recognition of her humanitarian efforts in working to raise awareness and funds.

Growing up in Nebraska, Skinner won eight state championships, 20 high school titles and competed nationally. This success earned the likable golfer a scholarship at Oklahoma State University, where she was named Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year, Collegiate Player of the Year and was eventually inducted into the Oklahoma State Hall of Fame. Skinner is also a member of the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame.