Solheim Cup: Catriona Matthew hailed as 'fantastic European captain'
Catriona Matthew has been hailed as a “fantastic Solheim Cup captain” by English duo Mel Reid and Charley Hull heading into this weekend’s contest in Ohio.
The North Berwick woman is holding Europe’s reins for a second time in the biennial event, having been re-appointed on the back of a memorable win in the 2019 match at Gleneagles.
Reid was one of Matthew’s assistants on that occasion and is now enjoying being one of her players for the 17th edition, which starts on Saturday at Inverness Golf Club in Toledo.
“Catriona is so laid back,” said Reid, who is making her fourth appearance in the event. “I think one of her biggest assets is that she lets the players do what they want.
“I think we have had captains in the past that have tried to do what they want, like the captain does things, so they make the players do that.
“I think that's a big no-no as a captain. I think that's why Catriona is so good. Like, ‘hey, you want to play 18, play 18; you want to play nine, play nine; you want to play 12, play 12’.
“She knows we all know how to prepare. I just think she does it so well in creating a team, but allowing the players to be individual at the same time and prepare how they would normally prepare.”
Matthew played in the contest nine times and is now bidding to create history by becoming the first European captain to record back-to-back wins.
“She's a very approachable lady,” added Reid, the world No 53 and one of the more experienced players on the side for this match. “She's just one of the nicest and she's surprisingly funny for a Scot.
“Honestly, she's by far the best captain that I've ever been part of as a team, and was just hugely impressed with her at Gleneagles. I texted her straight after saying I want to be a player with you as a captain.
“I tried my hardest to get in this team, and luckily I did. She's just honestly a huge honour to play under. She's just a fantastic woman, fantastic career and a fantastic Solheim Cup captain.”
Hull made her Solheim Cup debut alongside Matthew in the 2013 contest in Colorado and is now playing in the event for the fifth time at just 25.
“She's probably my favorite Solheim Cup captain because she's so relaxed,” said Hull, a member of the winning team on Scottish soil two years ago. “She's got good banter. She's a good woman. I like her. She's cool.”
Matthew has four rookies in her team this time around, with Leona Maguire and Matilda Castren creating history as the first Solheim Cup players from Ireland and Finland respectively.
“I played with Leona today. Fantastic player,” said Reid of the former Curtis Cup star.
“The [four Team Europe] rookies are fearless. They’re not like rookies when I first played Solheim Cups that were just playing the Ladies European Tour.
Not discrediting that at all, but [now] they are playing against the American girls week in and week out, and they’re just not scared. That’s what you want.”