Catriona Matthew’s Solheim Cup connection started in 1992 as a spectator at Dalmahoy, when the Kirknewton venue staged the second match in the biennial bout between Europe and the US.
She’s since made eight playing appearances between 1998 and 2015 in the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup, enjoying some of the highlights in her glittering career.
Now the 46-year-old is set to open a new Solheim Cup chapter, one that is likely to lead to her holding the captaincy when the event is staged in Scotland for a third time at Gleneagles in 2019.
It follows North Berwick woman Matthew being named by Annika Sorenstam as the Swede’s first vice captain for next year’s match at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa.
“You never think you’ll get to where you are,” admitted Matthew. “I remember watching at Dalmahoy in the rain and they won it (11.5-6.5 two years after losing the inaugural match at Lake Nona in Florida).
“I would never have imagined then that I’d play in eight and now be a vice captain. You dream of doing these things, but you never quite imagine it will happen.”
There’s a strong possibility that Matthew, who holed the winning putt at Barseback in Sweden in 2003 before clinching Europe’s first win on US soil in Denver in 2013, could be a playing vice-captain.
She is certainly showing no signs of slowing up, having just clinched a place in Team GB for golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio next month at the age of 46.
“We spoke about that,” admitted Matthew. “I think Juli (Inkster) was a playing vice captain in Ireland. I’ll see how I’m playing next year. I’d love to play and be vice captain at the same time.”
Matthew’s appointment is a clear indication that she is being groomed for the captaincy in 2019 at Gleneagles, where she won the McDonald’s WPGA Championship in 1998.
“Obviously I’ll have to focus on this one first but we’ll see what happens,” she saud. “If I do put my name forward for captaincy, it would be a great help to be vice captain.”