Who Is the Solheim Cup Named After?

The Solheim Cup is one of the biggest events in women's professional golf, played every other year betweens teams representing Europe and the United States. But who is it named after — who put the "Solheim" in Solheim Cup?

The Solheim Cup namesake is Karsten Solheim, founder of Ping Golf.

Solheim's company, Ping, was already deeply involved in women's golf in the 1980s as the title sponsor of (at one time) three different LPGA tournaments. (The Standard Register Ping, in which Annika Sorenstam carded the LPGA's first 59, was the best-known.)

In early 1990, the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour had discussions about launching a Ryder Cup-style tournament for women's golf. But they couldn't do it on their own — they needed a major sponsor to help back it.

Given Ping's involvement in women's golf already, the company was a natural fit. So the tours approached Karsten Solheim, who agreed to back the tournament and insisted on a 10-tournament (20-year) commitment.

The tournament was named after Solheim in gratitude for his commitment to women's golf. And the first Solheim Cup was played later that year in 1990.

Karsten Solheim died in the year 2000, but his namesake tournament seems to get bigger every time it is played. That initial 20-year commitment also expired, but Ping remains deeply involved in the Solheim Cup (including as the title sponsor of the Ping Junior Solheim Cup).

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