Catriona Matthew: I wouldn’t say no if asked to repeat Solheim Cup success
Catriona Matthew has said she wouldn’t turn down the chance to become a back-to-back Solheim Cup-winning captain, though her Gleneagles hero, Suzann Pettersen, could be a rival for the job in 2021.
Unlike the Ryder Cup these days, the women’s equivalent is not necessarily a one-match gig, with Juli Inkster, for instance, being at the helm of the US for the third encounter in a row in Perthshire last week.
After leading her side to a dramatic 14.5-13.5 victory as they picked up the trophy for the first time since 2013, Matthew said it had been a “dream come true” to be a winning captain on home soil.
Laura Davies, one of her vice-captains for the 16th edition, now believes the North Berwick woman should be handed the chance to keep the run going at the Inverness Club in Toldeo, Ohio, in two years.
“I’ve not really thought of that yet, to be honest,” said Matthew of staying on in the post. “You know, this is such a special moment – I couldn’t top this at all – and I want to enjoy it before I think of what might happen next. You never know, but I will let this one sink in first. I wouldn’t say no.”
Having announced her retirement moments after holing the winning putt on a dramatic afternoon, Pettersen is also likely to be considered by the Ladies European Tour board and it is believed her preference would be a captaincy in the US. However, Matthew is also no stranger on the other side of the Atlantic, indeed, she secured Europe’s first win on US soil in Colorado in 2013, and the 50-year-old certainly impressed both her players and vice-captains on this occasion.
“Obviously I had a lot of help from Laura, Mel and Kathryn,” said the 2009 Women’s British Open champion. “We did talk about things but, in the end, I suppose it was my final decision. I think the toughest thing was telling the ones who weren’t playing because everyone wants to play as they are all champing at the bit to go.”
The event attracted a record 90,000 crowd as Matthew joined Paul McGinley, the Ryder Cup captain in 2014, in leading Europe to victory over the Americans on the PGA Centenary Course. “That exceeded my expectations,” admitted Matthew, who was carried shoulder high across the green by her players. “The crowd on the last green and the closing ceremony was unbelievable. I think the last green I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest.
“To win it in Scotland – and on such a nice day. For it to be so close and to go to the last putt just makes it all the more exciting.”
Davies, an 11-time Solheim Cup player, heaped praised on Matthew for her role in helping Europe record a third success in the event on Scottish soil after wins at Dalmahoy (1992) and Loch Lomond (2000).
“Catriona never looked worried,” said the former world No.1 “She second guessed herself a couple of times on decisions – but always went back to her original call.
“As vice-captains, we just said: ‘These are your decisions, Beany. We’re happy to chuck in a few suggestions’. But we knew she was making the right decisions all the way through.
“She’s Beany. She doesn’t get too worked up about anything. That’s just her personality – and that rubs off on the players. Communication was good, everyone knew what they were doing at all times.”