Catriona Matthew misses out but has pivotal Solheim Cup role

Catriona Matthew had no complaints about missing '¨out on a ninth Solheim Cup playing appearance after '¨failing to secure one of '¨European captain Annika Sorenstam's four wild cards for the match in Des Moines next week.

Juli Inkster and Annika Sorenstam pose with the Solheim Cup trophy before naming their teams. Picture: Getty.

The Swede’s picks for the encounter in Iowa went instead to Swedish duo Anna Nordqvist and Madelene Sagstrom, German’s Caroline Masson and Dane Emily Kristine Pedersen, leaving Matthew having to be content with a role as one of 
Sorenstam’s vice captains.

“It was in my own hands, but I just did not play well enough,” Matthew told The Scotsman as she took the disappointment on the chin as the two teams were finalised immediately after the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns.

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The Scottish No 1, pictured right, was still very much in the running coming into the final two counting events but finished outside the top 50 in the Scottish Open at Dundonald Links before the 2009 British Open winner missed the cut with her final throw of the dice in Fife.

“I pretty much knew my chance was gone after that,” added Matthew, who will now channel her energy towards helping Sorenstam and the other members of her backroom team as they bid to win back the trophy after losing to the Americans at St Leon-Rot in Germany two years ago.

“We’ve got a good, strong team with a lot of good 
players and there are going to be some good matches out in Des Moines,” predicted the 47-year-old Scot before 
leaving Kingsbarns.

Sorenstam admitted that it had not been an easy decision to overlook Matthew in a playing capacity but she said she was equally delighted to be utilising her experience in the three-day contest, which starts on Friday week.

“It is hard to say ‘no’ to someone who lives for the Solheim Cup, but she was in the process so knows the players we were talking about,” said former world No 1 Sorenstam. “She was strong and mature and I am happy she is on the team either way.”

Sorenstam described picking Nordqvist, Europe’s highest-ranked player in the world at No 13, as a “no brainer” while Masson secured her place after hitting form at just the right time by recording top-ten finishes in both the Scottish Open and the British Open.

The European captain said she felt 
confident in Pedersen, 21, and 23-year-old Sagstrom, who will be making their first appearances in the event along with English pair Georgia Hall and Florentyna Parker.

“I’ve enjoyed the journey over the last 18 months and I’m proud of what all these 
players have achieved to get here,” said Sorenstam, who played on two winning sides and was also instrumental in two victories as a vice captain in 2011 and in 2013.

US captain Juli Inkster picked two rookies to make up her side, adding 18-year-old Angel Yin and Austin Ernst, 25, to her eight automatic qualifiers, a group that didn’t change from how it had been at the start of the British Open.

“Austin deserves her chance on this team and my players also thought that,” said Inkster after overlooking Paula Creamer in favour of the two less experienced campaigners. “As for Angel, the team loves her, so it is a win, win.”

TEAMS

USA: Danielle Kang, Cristie Kerr, Jessica Korda, Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Gerina Piller, Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, Austin Ernst (captain’s pick), Angel Yin (captain’s pick).

EUROPE: Carlota Ciganda, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Georgia Hall, Charley Hull, Karine Icher, Florentyna Parker, Suzann Pettersen, Mel Reid, Anna Nordqvist (captain’s pick), Caroline Masson (captain’s pick), Emily Kristine Pedersen (captain’s pick), Madelene Sagstrom (captain’s pick).