Solheim Cup 2021: Catriona Matthew on ‘career highlight’ of captaining Europe to away glory | Golf News

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Team Europe claimed a 15-13 victory on American soil in Toledo, Ohio, only their second ever away victory in the biennial contest; Catriona Matthew became the first European captain to win successive Solheim Cups

Last Updated: 25/12/21 8:39am


Catriona Matthew became the first European Solheim Cup captain to back-to-back victories.  Discover how she masterminded two incredible triumphs against all the odds in a special documentary this Christmas, only on Sky Sports Golf.

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Catriona Matthew became the first European Solheim Cup captain to back-to-back victories. Discover how she masterminded two incredible triumphs against all the odds in a special documentary this Christmas, only on Sky Sports Golf.

Catriona Matthew became the first European Solheim Cup captain to back-to-back victories. Discover how she masterminded two incredible triumphs against all the odds in a special documentary this Christmas, only on Sky Sports Golf.

When Catriona Matthew captained Europe to a dramatic victory on home soil in 2019, many felt that was the perfect sign-off to her long and successful Solheim Cup career. Instead, she added another layer to her legacy by creating more golfing history.

Matthew had only missed one event as a player for Team Europe after making her debut in 1998, even switching last-minute from vice-captain to player ahead of the 2017 contest, before taking over captaincy duties for the remarkable 14.5-13.5 success at Gleneagles.

That 2019 victory – secured with Suzann Pettersen’s narrow win on the last hole in the final singles match – avoided a third consecutive defeat for Europe, with Matthew initially unsure about returning to the role for a future edition of the biennial event.

It all came down to the final putt as Suzann Pettersen won the Solheim Cup for Europe.

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It all came down to the final putt as Suzann Pettersen won the Solheim Cup for Europe.

It all came down to the final putt as Suzann Pettersen won the Solheim Cup for Europe.

Matthew eventually committed to lead Europe at the Inverness Club in Ohio, knowing they only had one previous victory on American soil and with the knowledge that no European captain had ever won back-to-back Solheim Cups.

“That night [after the 2019 win] I remember saying to my husband ‘I don’t think I’ll do it again if they ask me’,” Matthew told Sky Sports. “It had never been done before, nobody had won back-to-back in Europe, so I thought why not!

Portrait of a Captain: Catriona

December 24, 2021, 7:00pm

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“It’s very different, an away game, so it was quite a different challenge for me. There’s a little less time commitment when it’s away, as you’re not doing quite so much of the promotion or the media, so it’s more about concentrating on the team.

“It was a little bit different [in 2021] with Covid-19, but it was a fantastic challenge to take on.”

Covid-19 limited playing opportunities for golfers on the Ladies European Tour and resulted in qualifying being changed to allow Matthew to make six captain’s picks, while pandemic-related travel restrictions meant that most European fans were unable to make the trip to the USA.

A look back at the best of the action from a thrilling final day at the Solheim Cup, where Team Europe made it back-to-back victories against Team USA.

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A look back at the best of the action from a thrilling final day at the Solheim Cup, where Team Europe made it back-to-back victories against Team USA.

A look back at the best of the action from a thrilling final day at the Solheim Cup, where Team Europe made it back-to-back victories against Team USA.

Europe went to America as underdogs, due to the hosts having eight of the world’s top 30 – including world No 1 Nelly Korda – at their disposal compared to the visitors’ two, only for Matthew to quash home hopes with a 15-13 win over Pat Hurst’s side.

Leona Maguire cemented herself in Solheim Cup folklore by top-scoring with 4.5points during an unbeaten debut, with Matilda Castren and Emily Pedersen returning three points and captain’s pick Mel Reid joining Anna Nordqvist in scoring 2.5 points during Europe’s win.

Leona Maguire underlined why she is among the best in the world in her debut appearance at the Solheim Cup for Europe, says Ladies European Tour professional and Sky Sports golf pundit Inci Mehmet.

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Leona Maguire underlined why she is among the best in the world in her debut appearance at the Solheim Cup for Europe, says Ladies European Tour professional and Sky Sports golf pundit Inci Mehmet.

Leona Maguire underlined why she is among the best in the world in her debut appearance at the Solheim Cup for Europe, says Ladies European Tour professional and Sky Sports golf pundit Inci Mehmet.

Matthew ruled herself out of a third straight captaincy stint, letting Pettersen take on the tole for the 2023 contest in Spain, with the Scot proud of her achievements for Team Europe.

“I think without a doubt it [winning back-to-back Solheim Cups] is the highlight of my career,” Matthew added. “Once I played the first time in 1998, every two years all I wanted to do was make the team.

Having appeared nine times in the Solheim Cup as a player, Suzann Pettersen will captain Team Europe at the 2023 tournament in Spain.

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Having appeared nine times in the Solheim Cup as a player, Suzann Pettersen will captain Team Europe at the 2023 tournament in Spain.

Having appeared nine times in the Solheim Cup as a player, Suzann Pettersen will captain Team Europe at the 2023 tournament in Spain.

“It has been a huge part of my career over the past 25 years and to have the opportunity and honour to win twice was something that, when I first played in 1998, I could never have dreamt of.

“I see both wins [2019 and 2021] fairly equally. Gleneagles, obviously being in Scotland, was very special with how the crowd created and everything.

Solheim Cup Golf

December 25, 2021, 10:00am

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“Then Inverness Club was a very different atmosphere at the end. It was really just our team that was there, but special in a different sort of way to have silenced the Americans! I mean two wins, what more can you ask for?!”

Watch ‘Portrait of a Captain: Catriona’, a special new documentary about Catriona Matthew’s success as Solheim Cup captain, this December on Sky Sports. The programme is available now via Sky Sports On Demand, with the show also on Sky Sports Golf throughout the festive period.

Sky Sports Golf’s schedule on Christmas Day will be dedicated to Europe’s 2021 Solheim Cup success, with the final-day singles repeated in full from 10am and extended highlights available throughout the day.

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