Mel Reid not bitter about Solheim Cup decision and endorses Suzann Pettersen pick

Mel Reid at Gleneagles. Picture: SNS
Mel Reid at Gleneagles. Picture: SNS
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Mel Reid, one of the players overlooked by Catriona Matthew as she handed a Solheim Cup wildcard to Suzann Pettersen, has given the decision the biggest possible endorsement by saying she'd have done the same thing as captain.

Pettersen is set to make her ninth appearance in the biennial event at Gleneagles next month after being picked by Matthew despite having made only two competitive appearances in 21 months as golf took back seat around becoming a mum.

Matthew is "100 per cent confident" she has made the right decision as Europe bid to stop the Americans making it a hat-trick of victories, with two-time major winner Pettersen responding to her pick by saying of the Solheim Cup: "I feel like I was born for this."

Reid had been hoping to secure one of Matthew's four wildcards for the matches on 13-15 September, but has had to settle for a role as a vice-captain, replacing Pettersen after she'd originally been set to fill that position along with Kathryn Imrie and Laura Davies.

"No fears," said the 31-year-old English player when asked if Pettersen's lack of competitive golf could be a problem in Perthshire. "She'll absolutely work her a*** off, to be honest, and she'll be ready. Mentally, she's one of the strongest players I have ever come across and had the privilege to play for. If I was the captain, I would have picked her."

Reid, who has played in the event three times, including a win at Killeen Castle in Ireland in 2011, also lost out to her compatriots Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Bronte Law, as well as Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, as Matthew added her final pieces to the jigsaw to complement eight automatic qualifiers.

"I'm gutted not to be playing," admitted Reid, a six-time LET winner. "It was a hard phone call to listen to, but when Beany (Matthew) said we'd love you to be a vice-captain I was very grateful for that opportunity and I wasn't going to turn that one down. It's a slightly different role, but I am proud still to be part of this team and that they value me to be part of this team so I am going to take it all very seriously.

"I think I've got a relatively strong personality and it's great that Suzann is back in team and I feel we've got quite a lot of experience. The last time (in Des Moines two years ago) I took on a slightly different role and my personality was more dominant compared to previous years and I looked after the rookies a little bit and that could be my role again.

"I have grown up in team sports, which is quite unusual for a golfer, so I've got that to my advantage and that in my armoury and I feel like I am quite good at bringing people together. One of my main things is making the rookies feel very comfortable."

Boutier, Law and big-hitting Dutchwoman Anne van Dam are the three newcomers in the home team, which also includes experienced Solheim Cup campaigners in Carlota Ciganda, Anna Nordqvist and Charley Hull.

"It's a strong and exciting team and the great thing about the rookies is the fact they've played in America and are not intimidated by the big guns of America because, let's not beat about the bush, the Americans are a very strong team," said Reid. "They always are and always will be so it's nice to know that the rookies are not going to be intimidated by that.

"I think we always are (underdogs). The majority of the time on paper they are the strongest ones, but what we've got is the team camaraderie. We are kind of similar to the Ryder Cup in that sense and especially being here in Scotland that's going to make a massive difference."

Reid, who became hooked on the Solheim Cup from the moment she watched the 2000 match at Loch Lomond on TV, is playing down the possibility that she could still be involved in a playing capacity in this one due to Ewart Shadoff having recently undergone a minor back procedure.

"My role right now is that of a vice-captain. But, if needs be, I am going to be ready to go and I'll prepare as well as I can in case they need me to be called up," she said. "But, hopefully there are no injuries and everything goes to plan exactly as Catriona sees it."