Golf: Walker secure as captain

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Mickey Walker has no need to fear for her position as Europe's Solheim Cup captain, despite the crushing 13-7 defeat to the United States at The Greenbrier, West Virginia, on Sunday. 'As long as the players want her and she wants to continue, the job is hers for life,' Terry Coates, executive director of the European women's tour said. 'Her job is probably safer than mine]'

Walker has led the side since the event began in 1990 and the disappointment of returning home without the trophy won so brilliantly at Dalmahoy two years ago has not changed her mind about the future.

'If the team wants me, I'll stay,' she said. There seems no doubt that she will be asked to stand again for the next match at St Pierre, Chepstow, on 21-23 September, 1996.

JoAnne Carner, the American captain, believes Walker made a big mistake this weekend. With the teams level at 5-5 following the foursomes and fourballs, Walker chose to send out Laura Davies, the world No 1, not at the top of the singles, but seventh, where she lost to Brandie Burton after the overall match had already been decided.

The United States took the singles 8-2 and Carner, who had earlier admitted her side were scared by Davies, said: 'I was surprised where she was. I think she inspires the team. She has always gone top - it has become a team ritual, almost. When you move her around, I think it changes the team atmosphere.'

Walker had hoped, of course, that the players she did put out early would do better so that Davies was in a position to influence the outcome, but only the Swede, Helen Alfredsson, and Sheffield's Alison Nicholas managed to win.

They claimed the notable scalps of Betsy King and Patty Sheehan, the past and present US Women's Open champions, but the strength in depth of the home side was, as most thought it would be, the determining factor. 'We knew we had to play great golf to win and we just didn't,' Walker said. 'But I still think this has been a wonderful European performance. Maybe some people thought that Dalmahoy was a freak result, but there is no doubt this is a contest and we have a lot of young talent coming through.'

Walker does, however, think that planned format changes could make it even harder to regain the cup in two years' time.

There will be 12 rather than 10 players per side and there will be two sets of foursomes and fourballs. Four players will sit out each series, but it is likely to be stipulated that everybody must play at least twice before the singles. Asked if she had voted for the move, Walker replied: 'What do you think?'

Davies, who finished with only one point out of three, said: 'We will be gunning for them at St Pierre. I putted badly all week and I think it all came down to the putting. I was happy to go out seventh, but all of a sudden we had lost the match and my game didn't seem important any more.'

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