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Pettersen named 2019 Solheim vice captain

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Suzann Pettersen is looking forward to returning to golf next year as a mom and a European Solheim Cup vice captain.

Pettersen joined Scotland’s Kathryn Imrie as one of two vice captains named Tuesday by Euro skipper Catriona Matthew.

Pettersen, the 15-time LPGA winner from Norway, called in to the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open via telephone for the news conference. She is due with her first child on Aug. 28. She said she hopes to be a playing vice captain when the Euros host the Americans at Gleneagles in Scotland next September.

“I can't wait,” Pettersen said of motherhood. “It will be a great factor in our life.

“But my plan is still to try and come back as soon as I can, and start off next season from the get go. So, hopefully, I have a good solid year behind me before we get to Gleneagles and try and play our hearts out to win the cup back.”

Pettersen, 37, hasn’t played an LPGA event since tying for 11th in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship late last year, but she’s motivated to do more than help “Beany” behind the scenes. Beany is Matthew’s nickname.

“I told Beany, if I am playable on the team, I don't know how much I can assist the actual week of the tournament, because I don't think you can combine [player/vice captaincy],” Pettersen said. “It's very energy draining, but at the end of the day, you have to let the players go out and execute their own plan, and trust that you've picked the right team, and let them do the job. That's kind of the experience I drew from last time.”

Whether Pettersen will be primarily a player or vice captain, Matthew is eager to have her help.

“She's got such fire, such a competitor, and I think obviously fully expecting her to be playing on the team as well, being a real leader to the other players,” Matthew said.

Pettersen has played on eight European Solheim Cup teams.

Imrie, a long-time friend to Matthew, won the LPGA’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic in 1995 and played in the ’96 Solheim Cup.

“We've known each other for probably 30 years,” Matthew said. “Played a lot of golf together . . . Anyone who plays at a top level is just a fierce competitor, but I think Kathryn has such a bubbly personality, and enthusiasm, and just having seen her, she's been in the team room in the past. You need to keep that kind of light atmosphere, which I think is very important.”