Catriona Matthew glad to have Solheim Cup entourage sorted

Catriona Matthew holds the Solheim Cup
Catriona Matthew holds the Solheim Cup
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Catriona Matthew has most of her pieces in place for this year’s Solheim Cup – and is excited to now see how the battle for spots on the European team unfolds over the next six months.

The home skipper has appointed Laura Davies, Kathyrn Imrie and Suzann Pettersen as her vice-captains for September’s clash at Gleneagles, with others having also agreed to take on unofficial roles for the North Berwick woman.

“Three vice-captains is what it has been the last three or four. It’s nice to have that sorted and I also have my helpers organised. It’s nice, for a change, to be quite organised,” she said.

“I’ve got five helpers and I think you can have one or two more, which I will leave until nearer the time. They do whatever I tell them (laughing)!”

The fight for 12 spots on Matthew’s team for the match in Perthshire resumed today in Abu Dhabi as the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open marked the start of the 2019 LET.

Eight automatic spots are up for grabs, with the last counting event set to be the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. On August 12, the day after that event in East Lothian finishes, Matthew, a nine-time Solheim Cup player, will announce her four captain’s picks for the match on September 13-15.

“At the moment there are a lot of possibilities, but six months is a long time in golf, so we will see who is in form at that time,” she said. “The core of the team will end up being similar, as it usually is. There will then be a few for us to debate.

“I think this next six months will be quite exciting. For someone (on the LET) to get in, they are going to have to play exceptionally well, but the chance is there. Georgia Hall played her way in the last time.”

Matthew is starting her new campaign by teeing up in Abu Dhabi, where she’s been joined by fellow Scots Carly Booth and Kylie Henry, as well as Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen. The winner in 2016 en route to topping the LET Order of Merit, Allen is looking to get her new season off to a good start after a disappointing season and a half.

“The last 18 months have been tough,” she admitted. “But I’m starting to feel positive about my game again. I started working with Karl Morris around September, leaving the mental coach I had been with for eight years.

“That has helped me find another direction and that has been a good thing for me. I have also been working hard on my swing with Ian Rae, though I don’t think it is that different to what it was a few years back. It’s been more down to a loss of confidence.”