Catriona Matthew believes this week, leading Europe at Gleneagles to Solheim Cup success could be her best accomplishment in golf.
Matthew, a nine-time Solheim Cup player, captains a European aspect in Scotland, where the hosts are searching to prevent a third successive defeat at the biennial contest.
The 50-year-old finished on four winning Solheim Cup sides throughout an illustrious playing career, but feels victory this week would gazump those successes and won the 2009 Women’s British Open.
“I believe it [Solheim Cup win] would be right on top,” Matthew said. “I’ve always adored that the Solheim Cup. When it comes around it has been the highlight of my career every 2 years.
“Some of my finest moments have been in the Solheim, also I believe to be a fighter that is winning at Gleneagles in Scotland would rank just about over my British Open triumph.
“It is great that it’s finally here. It’s been, in some respects, a quick two decades and I think these next couple of days will just fly past”
Matthew’s closing Solheim Cup appearance came in Europe’s 16.5-11.5 defeat a couple of years ago, when the Scot made the last-minute change from vice-captain to participant to replace the injured Suzann Pettersen.
Team USA have drafted in Ally McDonald to take more than Stacy Lewis and have now been forced into a similar adjustment before the year’s competition, leaving the visitors with six rookies in their side.
“Obviously that is hard for them and disappointing,” Matthew added. “We were in precisely exactly the same situation last time together with Suzann [Pettersen]. I’m sorry for Stacy [Lewis].
“You have that sort of connection of getting on the team, being chosen, and then not being able to play as you’re hurt is unfortunate for them. Ally McDonald is solid player, a good player. They have got an able replacement there.
“I suppose being a rookie it’s a little unknown amount. They’re all good players, but you’ve seen in the past some rookies kind of come from and excel. Subsequently other rookies who unfortunately just have found it a little all a bit too much”
Pettersen yields for Europe and leaves her inaugural Solheim Cup appearance, even though just making three competitive begins since though Dame Laura Davies is supporting her inclusion for a captain’s pick.
“Why would not you need Suzann Pettersen in your team?” Davies stated. “She hasn’t played a large number of tournaments, but match play is extremely different. You do not need to string together 72 holes.
“At the end it may be hard for somebody who has not playedbut 18 hole game play I’d back Suzann [Pettersen] every time. You might play with the other player In case you have another participant on the sheet or Suzann.
“Suzann could be quite tricky on the market. It’s fantastic for us. It’s great that she brings that reputation to our group, and I’d never overlook Suzann Pettersen ever.”
See the Solheim Cup through the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage starts with the Opening Ceremony on Thursday from 5.30pm Sky Sports Golf along with Sky Sports Mix.
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