Scot chosen to lead Europe on home soil
“It’s a great honour and a dream come true to be the captain at home in Scotland”
Catriona Matthew has been appointed as European captain for the next Solheim Cup, which will take place on the world-famous PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, on 13-15 September 2019.
Matthew made her ninth appearance as a player for the European team at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa last month, having served as a vice-captain to Annika Sörenstam.
Selected as the travelling alternate by the captain, she stepped into the player role after Suzann Pettersen withdrew through injury and the Scot proved to be one of the stars of the team, earning three points for Europe from her four matches.
With a career total of 22 Solheim Cup points, Matthew moved up to third on the all-time points list, behind Laura Davies (25) and Sörenstam (24). She also moved into joint third with Cristie Kerr on the all-time match victories list, with 18 career match wins, behind only Davies and Sörenstam with 22 apiece.
Now Matthew is looking forward to her next challenge: leading Europe to its sixth victory over the United States of America. She said: “It’s a great honour and a dream come true to be the captain at home in Scotland. Since my first appearance in 1998, I have always loved playing in The Solheim Cup. It’s always such an incredible atmosphere and over the years that I’ve played, I’ve enjoyed it more and more. From the extremely high standard of play, to the enormous crowds, huge infrastructure and fantastic media coverage, the event just keeps getting bigger and better. Scotland will provide the perfect stage for The 2019 Solheim Cup and Gleneagles will be a terrific venue. I was lucky enough to win there in 1998 and there is nothing better than winning in your home country.”
The outgoing captain, Annika Sörenstam, who was also Matthew’s first Solheim Cup partner at Muirfield Village in 1998, commented: “I am very happy that Catriona was chosen as the next Solheim Cup captain for Team Europe. She has had a wonderful Solheim Cup career and she deserves the opportunity to take on this prestigious role. With the next Solheim Cup taking place in Scotland, her home country, it’s the perfect scenario for her to lead the European Team. She helped us a lot over the past year as a vice-captain, but then stepped in and won us three points as a player. Catriona is very well respected by the players, so she is a natural choice.”
The Ladies European Tour’s Chairman, Mark Lichtenhein, said: “Everyone at the Ladies European Tour is absolutely delighted that Catriona has accepted the captaincy. Her experience, combined with her outstanding record and passion for The Solheim Cup, make her the perfect choice to lead Team Europe and not just because, as a Scot, she will be leading on home soil. Catriona’s contribution to the European Team over nine editions has been immense and her performance in Des Moines was simply brilliant. As the captain, she will continue to inspire not just her own team, but millions of fans around the world.”
Commenting on the appointment, The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland MSP, said: “I’m thrilled to offer my congratulations to Catriona Matthew on being named the European Team Captain for The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles. Catriona is without doubt one of Scotland’s most successful sporting icons and I am delighted that she has been given the honour of captaining the European side in her home country. I have no doubt that Catriona will prove to be an inspiration as captain as she has done throughout her playing career and serve as a role model for thousands of junior golfers, not just in Scotland but across the globe. I’m confident the people of Scotland will get fully behind Catriona’s captaincy and line the fairways of Gleneagles in support of the European team come September 2019.”
“We’re delighted with the choice of Catriona Matthew as the 2019 European Solheim Cup captain,” said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “She’s an excellent and deserving choice for many reasons. As a nine-time participant in The Solheim Cup with an incredible record of 18-11-8, Catriona brings tremendous experience to a team that is determined to reclaim the event on home soil. Of course, leading the team in her home country of Scotland will undoubtedly inspire her and add even more excitement and passion to the galleries at Gleneagles which we know will be large and supportive. I’ve long admired Catriona’s calm, quiet and thoughtful approach to the game which will serve her very well as she prepares and motivates her team to reach its goal of winning The Solheim Cup.”
Matthew played in nine Solheim Cups from 1998-2017 (1998, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017) and was a member of three victorious teams, in 2003, 2011 and 2013.
She joined the Ladies European Tour in 1995 and won her maiden LET title at the 1998 McDonald’s WPGA Championship on the King’s Course at Gleneagles in the same year that she made her Solheim Cup debut at Muirfield Village in Ohio.
Her first home match was at Barsebäck in Sweden in 2003, when, as a captain’s pick, she earned 3 ½ points and holed the winning putt in her singles match against Rosie Jones, in front of some of the largest galleries ever witnessed in the competition.
On her second winning side at Killeen Castle in Ireland, she earned 3 points for the European team, including an an emphatic 6 and 5 victory over Paula Creamer in the opening singles match.
In 2013, Matthew was a member of the first European team to win in the United States and secured the half point to win the Cup outright at Colorado Golf Club.
The 48-year-old from North Berwick, who counts the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open among her 10 international titles, becomes the 10th European captain, following Mickey Walker, Pia Nilsson, Dale Reid, Catrin Nilsmark, Helen Alfredsson, Alison Nicholas, Liselotte Neumann, Carin Koch and Annika Sörenstam.