Catriona Matthew says Europe’s Solheim Cup victory at Gleneagles was a ‘dream come true’
In an event that attracted a record 90,000 spectators, the 16th edition was decided by the last putt as Norwegian Suzann Pettersen holed from six-feet for a birdie on the 18th green on the PGA Centenary Course to secure a 14½-13½ victory. It was Europe’s first win in the transatlantic tussle since 2013, denying US captain Juli Inkster her chance of a place in the record books as the first person to skipper three successful sides.
“A fantastic moment. A dream come true,” said Matthew, who was carried shoulder high across the green by her players after masterminding Europe’s third success in the event in the Home of Golf after previous triumphs at Dalmahoy and Loch Lomond in 1992 and 2000 respectively.
Speaking in a post-match press conference, the North Berwick woman added: “These 12 players, they played their hearts out. We knew it was going to be close today, but to come down to that last putt and for Suzann to hole it… But it was a fantastic team performance. They all contributed a lot. We never would have won it if it wasn’t for all of us.”
Matthew played on three winning teams as a player, leading the way in the last-day singles as Europe triumphed at Killeen Castle in Ireland 2011 and also clinching a first triumph on US soil in Colorado two years later. With her husband, Graeme, and their daughters, Katie and Sophie, around for this one, though, it even topped winning the Women’s British Open in 2009.
“I could barely watch,” she said of a nerve-wracking finish as Europe grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to wins from both Pettersen and Bronte Law in the final two matches.
“It’s far worse watching. When you’re playing, you’re kind of in the zone and in the moment, and you’ve got control over things.
“But watching you just have to faith in the player that’s there, and they’re all good players. And I had confidence they were going to do it. It’s just been a great week. We’ve had great performances from everyone. Everyone remembers the last putt, but we had to get there.”
Inkster, inset, who’d led the US to victory at St Leon Rot in Germany in 2015 and Des Moines in 2017, ruled out putting herself forward to captain her country again when the teams next meet at Inverness Club in Toledo in two years’ time.
“No. No. No, I’m not even getting on the call,” she said. “But I will be there in Toledo, that’s for sure. I’m really happy where I’m at. I’ve had the honour to do this three times. And it’s been an honour. And I’m 2-1. We’re 2-1. I thought that’s been good. I’d be making a lot if I was a baseball player!
“It’s not really about the wins and losses, it’s about the memories and the camaraderie. I knew Jess and Nelly [the Korda sisters] a little bit, I didn’t really know them that well, and I feel like I’ve got to know them great. And they’re going to be a big part of my life. It’s about making those friendships.”