Laura Diaz appointed US Solheim Cup vice captain

Laura Diaz was appointed vice captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup

team Wednesday, pairing her with Dottie Pepper six years after

their friendship seemingly ended over Pepper’s blunt televised

comment during the matches.

Diaz, selected by captain Meg Mallon to join Pepper as an

assistant for the August matches against Europe at Colorado Golf

Club, was the most vocal critic after Pepper referred to the U.S.

players as ”chokin’ freakin’ dogs” during Golf Channel’s coverage

of the 2007 event. Believing the network was in a commercial break,

Pepper made the comment after Diaz and Sherri Steinhauer settled

for a halve when Steinhauer missed a 3-foot putt on the 18th.

”I think in most friendships words are said that people don’t

like,” Diaz said at the LPGA Founders Cup. ”Sometimes it takes a

little time to get over and sometimes it takes a longer time. …

We both are very passionate about the Solheim Cup.

”As much as Dottie and I have shared, I’ve known Dottie since I

was 10 years old, so there’s a lot more that goes into it than just

she was a commentator. I would like to believe that she was playing

that match with me and she was feeling what I was feeling and words

came out that, you know, they were just words.”

Pepper reiterated that she thought she was off the air when she

made the comment.

”I made one crucial mistake,” Pepper said. ”It was breaking a

broadcast rule that you’re never supposed to root and I did, and

the switch wasn’t off when I did and I said something that I have

said to myself numerous times and it happened to go out over the

air. But I think the thing that is most important to remember about

the Solheim Cup itself is that while it drives passion and that can

sometimes scar a friendship, Solheim Cup is also way bigger to mend

it again.”

Mallon thinks the fiery duo will make perfect assistants.

”If they’re OK with it, the rest of us are OK with it and I’m

happy to see this,” Mallon said. ”And I’m no dummy. These two

love this event and they should be together enjoying this event

together, so I’m happy about it.”

Diaz plans to play a full schedule this season and hopes to

qualify for the U.S. team.

”When I talked to Laura about it, I knew she was playing a

full-time schedule and I felt that Laura could easily have a big

year this year and make the team,” Mallon said. ”I felt that she

could do both, be a playing assistant if that came around, so I

didn’t have a problem with that whatsoever. I just knew I needed

Laura on this team and by our side.”

Diaz, a four-time Solheim Cup player, won her two LPGA Tour

titles in 2002.

”It is the greatest honor in my career,” Diaz said. ”When Meg

asked me, I was really just in awe, surprised, shocked.”

Liselotte Neumann will captain the European team, with fellow

Swedes Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch serving as vice

captains.

Europe won the 2011 event in Ireland. The Americans lead the

series 8-4, going 6-0 at home.